Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Word(less) Wednesday

Allie gets cameos all week this week, since October is her birth month and we're celebrating!

Allie does it, Instagram-style. :-)


Freekibble is donating ALL Halo Pets kibble raised today through Friday to help animals who are victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Click here to raise kibble for cats:
and here to raise kibble for dogs:

Please visit, click and share these links!

And - just for fun: a spooky prank by LG, to demonstrate how lifelike their TV monitors are.
If you want to skip all the techie stuff, fast forward to about :40 into the video, where the fun stuff begins:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays


Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Medical Mondays: Breast Cancer Awareness in Pets

This is the first in a new monthly “Ask the Vet” segment for Medical Mondays. 

Dr. Eberhardy with one of his patients
We’d like you to meet Dr. Richard Eberhardy of Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital here in Kansas City.

Allie and the boys are under his expert care, and it’s thanks to his tireless efforts that Maxwell is now a healthy, energetic 2 year old!

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we thought we’d ask Dr. Eberhardy if this was an issue in animals as well.

He informed us that yes, both dogs and cats can get breast cancer (and we learned it's usually referred to as mammary neoplasia).

With dogs, he said, a good percentage of the tumors are benign. Not so with cats. Dogs have about a 50-50 chance it's not cancer. In cats, there's an 80-90% likelihood that it is cancerous.

In both dogs and cats, there’s a strong correlation between hormones and cancer.

Golden Retriever puppies, 4 weeks. Creative Commons 2.0
"What does that mean?" we asked. It means that you can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in dogs if they are spayed before their first heat cycle.

Studies are a bit more vague with cats, but they also seem to indicate that risks are lowered if the cat is spayed early - before her first birthday.

Statistically, dogs have the advantage over cats when it comes to this disease.

Dr. E told us that, although they tend to have a lot more lumps and bumps all over their bodies than cats do, a great number of these are cancer-free.

And when tests do come back showing cancer is present, he said, dogs can often be treated successfully with a less invasive surgery than cats require. For dogs, it can often be treated like a 'lumpectomy'.

Cats, on the other hand, often need more radical surgical procedures, requiring a larger section of the chest to be removed to ensure the tumor is gone.

Since more than half the cats diagnosed with the feline form of breast cancer will have additional tumors pop up in other locations, they could require follow-up surgery, as well.

Sadly, when you're dealing with breast cancer in dogs and cats, the question isn't  "can they be cured" but "how long can we keep it from coming back".

A lot of that depends on the pet parent – and early detection plays an important role.

In cats, if a mass is found before it grows beyond 2 centimeters, the median survival rate is 3 years. If the mass has grown to 3 centimeters or more, that survival drops to 6 months.

So, just as in humans, early detection is critical to your pet’s survival. This is especially important if you adopted an older dog or cat from a shelter who may have been spayed long after her first birthday.

Snoozing in Dad's lap
In Allie’s case, Wayside Waifs estimates she was just about a year old when she found her way to the shelter, so she may be less at risk than an older cat.

But still. It never hurts to remember to check from time to time.

So the next time you’re sitting on the sofa with a kitty in your lap (or in Allie's case, if a certain kitty sneaks in a cuddle at the keyboard), be sure to check.

And if you feel a lump or a bump, make an appointment to see your vet immediately.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Allie! Plus Flexi-Joints Winner

Someone is celebrating her birthday this month.

(um, Mommy...yeah, like we couldn't figure out who you mean?)
Anyway, so we're wishing her a happy birfday today cuz Mommy made us.

Dude, Allie's bigger than you. Probably a good idea to do something nice once in a while so's she doesn't whup your tuchus.

Whazza tuchus? *looks around frantically*
Doesn't have anything to do with my WAND Toys, does it?!?

We're not exactly sure what day Allie was born but Wayside Waifs estimates October of 2008.
So, happy birth-month, Little Princess!

Allie received a very nice card in the mail yesterday.

*horrified look* Maxie...It's from...THE V-E-T!!!

Winner of the Flexi-Joints and Omega Glossy Coat Supplement Giveaway!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Caturday WORD for the Day: "Spooky"

Maxwell: "I...I...can't look. Tell me when it's over!"

As you can tell, we're participating in this week's Photohunt by Sandi at the Whistlestop Cafe, and the word is SPOOKY.
(Max doesn't like scary things...)


Don't forget! Today is the LAST day for U.K. residents to enter

It's free to all our British friends.


Join us in Tweeting for Rescue Pets in the 
Fund-Free Fundraiser! 

For every tweet and blog post featuring the #BTC4A hashtag (short for Be the Change for Animals) from October 22-27, Petco will donate $1 for rescue pets – up to $5000 – at this weekend's BarkWorld event.

What can you do? 

Click the image below to tweet - it's a quick & easy way to help raise funds for shelter animals.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"Fun Finds" Friday & #BTC4A Fundraiser

Remember Dr. Eve Riser-Roberts' cat parody paintings we featured a few weeks ago?
Her fine art print parody of Jackson Pollock's cat was my very first "Pinterest-prompted" purchase.

Well, today's Fun Find is also from Dr. Riser-Roberts...and it's absolutely free.

Using the program BrainsBreaker 5, she's created a free puzzle you can download, and it features her van Gogh cat parody, "van Gogh's Very Bad Cat."

In order for you to play the puzzle, you'll need to install the program on your PC or Mac - the instructions are at The Cat Gallery site here.

Below is a video capture demonstrating what the puzzle game is like:

Kinda hard to beat free. :-)


Join us in Tweeting for Rescue Pets in the 
Fund-Free Fundraiser! 

For every tweet and blog post featuring the #BTC4A hashtag (short for Be the Change for Animals) from October 22-27, Petco will donate $1 for rescue pets – up to $5000 – at this weekend's BarkWorld event.

What can you do? 

Click the image below to tweet - it's a quick & easy way to help raise funds for shelter animals.

Don't forget! There are only TWO days left 
for U.K. residents to enter the 

It's free to all our British friends!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday Thriller & #BTC4A

Confession: this has nothing whatsoever to do with cats. Or dogs.
Except for the fact that a good home movie means quality lap time in our home. And that's something all 3 of our kitties can get behind.

So they graciously agreed to let me show you this fun advertising stunt for the new James Bond movie that's gone viral on the internet.

Now all we have to do is wait for it to come to the small screen!

(We did wonder if that first Coke machine also came with a "to participate, you have to be in good physical health and sign this waiver" disclaimer!!)


And since this is a pet blog...
"The name is Bond. Maxwell Bond."


Don't forget! There are only THREE days left for U.K. residents to enter

It's free to all our British friends 
(British residents not British Shorthairs ...
unless of course the British Shorthairs happen to live in Britain!).


Join us in Tweeting for Rescue Pets in the 
Fund-Free Fundraiser! 

For every tweet and blog post featuring the #BTC4A hashtag (short for Be the Change for Animals) from October 22-27, Petco will donate $1 for rescue pets – up to $5000 – at this weekend's BarkWorld event.

What can you do? 

Click the image below to tweet - it's a quick & easy way to help raise funds for shelter animals.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Don't forget! There are only 4 days left for U.K. residents to enter

It's free to all our British friends (British residents not British Shorthairs ...
unless, of course, the British Shorthairs happen to live in Britain, MOL!).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays

Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Medical: Avocados - poison or pet food additive?

Does your pup look forward to Mexican Fiesta night at your house? Does he lick his lips when you break out the guac and chips?

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Or maybe it's your kitty, who always has an eye out for the finer things in life. After all, what's tastier than a rich, creamy guacamole dip with avocados, cilantro, lime juice, some onion and tomato....

There are a few reasons - in the form of ingredients - that your pet shouldn't indulge in this delicious treat.  Onions and avocados.

We covered the toxicity of onions and related edibles a few weeks ago, and you can read about it here. Interestingly enough, the issue of avocado toxicity isn't so cut-and-dried. You see, there are actually some pet foods that use avocado in their ingredients.

The 4-1-1 on avocados

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Avocados are incredibly rich in all sorts of good things, like essential fatty acids, niacin, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C, D,  E and B6.

Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? No wonder a pet food manufacturer would want to use it!

There's just a teesny problem. There's a fatty acid derivative in the avocado, as well, called persin. Persin is found in every part of the avocado plant - in its leaves, bark, the monster seed in the middle, and even the fruit.

The good news is that there's very little persin in the actual fruit, compared to concentrations found in leaves, bark and the pit. The bad news is what persin can do to an animal if enough is ingested.

For dogs and cats, it's more of a mild nuisance than a deadly toxin. If enough avocado is ingested, it'll cause diarrhea, possibly vomiting. And cats are more sensitive to persin than dogs are.

For other pets such as birds, horses and rodents, it's another matter. For birds in particular, like parakeets or cockatiels, persin can cause respiratory distress, fluid around the heart and, if enough is ingested, eventually death.  In sufficient quantity, it can cause colic in horses and, without veterinary intervention, death.

Yet both avocado oil and meal are found in both dog and cat food. Specifically, in the brand Avoderm. In fact, the company derives its name from the avocado. How can this be good for dogs and cats?

It turns out that most avocado toxicity can be traced to a specific strain of avocado - the Guatemalan variety. The type of avocado used by Avodern, the company states on its website, is not Guatemalan. Nor does it use the bark, leaves or pits in its formulation. The fruit pulp is screened before use, and the company requested a toxicology review from the Environmental Toxicology Department at UC Davis to determine its safety.

The report concluded that the avocado used in Avoderm pet food is not toxic and the company feels its inclusion in their pet food formula is especially beneficial to animals who suffer from skin and coat problems.

Ultimately, the decision is yours as a responsible pet owner. But ASPCA veterinary outreach director Dr. Tina Wismer admitted that there were no reliable reports of poisoning in dogs, cats or ferrets. The biggest danger by far for such animals is the choking hazard presented by the avocado pit.

One last thought to leave you with: as with humans, it's always wise to use everything in moderation. A lick of guac now and again for your dog or cat probably won't cause tummy upset. And it's just common sense to throw the pit away. Though it might be fun to bat it around, it's not a toy.

Next week
Can Cats & Dogs
Suffer From Breast Cancer?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

8 Myths About Animals

We knew #1, but some of these were new to us!
8 Animal Myths Dispelled

UPDATE: Misconception junction as been merged with the site Today I Found Out. Check it out - they have some fascinating info to share!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Five Fave Tweets: October 2012

Our monthly series continues...

*swingin' back & forth on 1 paw & yowling at top of lungs*

Momma, can I have Faraday's Wand Toy Collection? U case anything ever happen-- *CRASH!* uh, U might not wanna go in there...

somebody tell @foursquare I just ousted Allie as mayor of the kitchen table. I so rule.

All opinions stated in these tweets are strictly my own. They do not reflect the views of my typist. (*sigh* Mother made me post this.)

And Mommy's all-time fave tweet:

Faraday. Dude. Was that an attack on Momma's leg or were those jazz hands. Seriously. That was such an Allie move.


We're participating in the Weekend Cat Blogging blog hop!

Friday, October 19, 2012

"Fun Finds" Friday

This is a random gathering of pet-related things we thought you might find interesting. 
(Okay, and a lot of it is from Mommy's snoop time on Pinterest!)

If you have a fun find you'd like us to feature, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us tab above.


Calling all you fashionistas! Today's Fun Find is an entire online store filled with designer inspired dog toys.

You can buy your pampered pooch everything from Jimmy Choos Chews to their very own Kate Spade Spayed pink purse. (Allie is soooo there!)

And of course, what else would pooches use to buy these fine items but - you got it - their very own credit card!

We found these for around $10 each at Michi Pet online pet boutique. 
Excuse me, I have to go hide my purse from Allie....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Infographic: Cities that spend the most on pets

Recently Mike Dang wrote an article for on the top pet spending cities in the U.S. by month.
How do you, personally, rank? Do you know? We hit the top - and that's even per kitty!

click on this image to be directed to a high resolution view at

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Kale Konnection

Who's this, lurking in the kale?
It's Maxwell, Kale Guardian Extraordinaire!
"I do believe this pepper plant could use some water, mom" 
(in case anyone was wondering, this was one of Maxwell's occasional 'escape artist' moments.
We were right on him and as soon as the pics were snapped, the guy went straight inside!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays


Toon Tuesdays feature cat & dog cartoons made by the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog the Change: Pet Food Recalls and Radiation

Four times a year, pet bloggers band together to raise awareness
about issues critical to the welfare of the animals we love
Issues like this one.

This special Monday Medical post is about the worrisome increase in pet food recalls over the past year.

One of the brands identified by FDA
As of May, 2012, the FDA had received nearly 1,000 reports of illnesses and/or deaths of dogs who had consumed chicken jerky treats made in China.

As of July, 2012, 47 people in 20 U.S. states (plus 2 in Canada) had suffered salmonella poisoning traced back to the handling of dry pet food made in the USA.

I’ve been sitting back and reading about the vast number of pet food and pet treat recalls over the past year, but haven’t really done anything to address it on this blog, mainly because of the vast amount of exposure it's had on other blogs. I didn't feel I could add much to the conversation until now.

But a few weeks ago some information was dropped into my lap by a radiation physicist. Here’s what I was told.

The FDA imposes a limit on the amount of radiation human-grade food items may be given. It also imposes a limit on the amount of radiation given to animal feed – and pet food comes under those guidelines.

In general, the FDA allows a much lower dose of radiation to kill harmful bacteria on human grade food than it does for pet food.

Raw eggs: allowed 5 kGy to protect from salmonella
For example, raw fruits and vegetables are allowed a maximum of 1 kiloGray of radiation to kill bacteria, but the amount increases five-fold for raw eggs. Given that eggs pose a salmonella risk, that’s understandable.

Frozen raw meat is allowed a bit more than eggs - 7 kGy. And again, given that there are between6 and 33 million illnesses a year in the U.S. alone1 due to microbial pathogens found in raw meats, that completely makes sense.

Yet pet food is allowed 50 kiloGray. That's ten times the FDA limit for raw eggs.

Pet food: allowed 50 kGy to kill pathogens
If you read any label, you’ll see pet food ingredients come from the same sources as ours: meats, grains, vegetables, fruits.

So why would pet food be allowed ten times the radiation as raw eggs and fifty times the radiation for raw vegetables?

These are significantly higher levels. The answer simply is that food is split into two categories: human grade food, and food not fit for human consumption.

The husband of an associate of mine grew up on a ranch in the Midwest U.S., and he tells a story about where their sickly and deceased animals were sent. You guessed it: the pet food plant. He said there would often be days that passed between the time they notified the pet food plant about the dead animal’s carcass and the time workers at the plant arrived to pick it up. During that time, the carcass remained exposed to the elements. That could mean high temperatures, insects – plenty of opportunity for decay and bacteria growth.

Fifty kiloGray. One can understand the need for a higher amount of radiation after hearing the rancher’s tale.

But given the rash of recalls in 2012 alone, even that doesn’t seem to be working so well, does it?

To be fair, yes, animals can handle eating things we can’t, but a cat killing a mouse and then eating it, bones and all – well, that’s a fresh kill. There's little chance for bacteria to become an issue.

After reading all this, I was very glad for the decisions I’d made regarding what our cats eat. Of the three brands of cat food served in our home, one uses human grade ingredients and another requires that its farmers and suppliers provide Letters of Guaranty stating that their meats and produce are fresh and unadulterated. The third brand has very strict protocols in place and rigorously tests for salmonella and E. coli (though to be honest, I am trying to wean a certain kitty – yes, Maxwell, I’m looking at you! – off this third one).

I understand that price can prohibit some from switching over like I have. I only have the three cats, but I know several people who rescue and/or foster animals for whom the premium pet food might be too expensive.

But I have to admit, I was intrigued to see the post by Whisppy showing how they make their own dried chicken jerky treats right in their home. So I did a little research on what it might take to make pet food – and how that might impact our budget. That’s fodder for another post (ouch, kind of a bad pun there, wasn't it?). But I can tell you that when we ran the numbers, the cost of homemade pet food looked pretty promising.

Please…tell us what you think on this issue. Are you concerned about the quality of pet foods in the U.S. and do you think the number of recalls this year is cause for alarm?
You’ll notice in the table below that there are two human-grade food items that exceed the 5-7 kGy limit, and those are spices and astronaut food. We figure NASA’s got a lot of special reasons for wanting their food to be especially sterile, so we’re counting that out of this discussion.

But we find it interesting that the FDA allows 30 kGy for spices, due to the extremely high incidence of molds and other bacteria found in them – especially those coming from countries known to have a higher level of contaminants.

In fact, spices are so easily contaminated that doctors will tell patients who are undergoing stem cell transplants to avoid all spices before, during and for a period after treatment, to protect them while their immune systems are weakened.

Table 6.2. Foods Permitted to be Irradiated Under FDA's Regulations (21 CFR 179.26). 
Fresh, non-heated processed pork
Control of Trichinella spiralis
0.3 kGy min. to 1 kGy max.
Fresh foods
Growth and maturation inhibition
1 kGy max.
Arthropod disinfection
1 kGy max.
Dry or dehydrated spices/seasonings
Microbial disinfection
30 kGy max.
Fresh or frozen, uncooked poultry products
Pathogen control
3 kGy max.
Frozen packaged meats (solely NASA)
44 kGy min.
Refrigerated, uncooked meat products
Pathogen control
4.5 kGy max.
Frozen uncooked meat products
Pathogen control
7 kGy max.
Fresh shell eggs
Control of Salmonella
3.0 kGy max.
Fresh or frozen molluscan shellfish1
Control of Vibrio species and other foodborne pathogens
5.5 kGy max.

Food for irradiation
Bagged complete diets, packaged feeds, feed ingredients, bulk feeds, animal treats and chews
Absorbed dose: Not to exceed 50 kiloGrays. Feeds and feed ingredients treated by irradiation should be formulated to account for nutritional loss.
Microbial disinfection, control or elimination

1 Ahn, D. U., Jo, C., Olson, D.G. “Analysis of volatile components and the sensory characteristics of irradiated raw pork.”p. 209-215.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Giveaway: Flexi-Joint Supplements


Did you know that 30% of cats over 8 years old – and 90% of cats over 12 – have arthritis? The sad thing is that there are almost no arthritis medications that can be safely or effectively used on cats.

Fortunately, there is a safe alternative: glucosamine.

someday those pretty pink toes will probably suffer arthritis
Glucosamine is classified as a nutraceutical.

Health Canada defines the term as:

"a product isolated or purified from foods that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food. A nutraceutical is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease.”

 But does it work?

There have been many studies done that indicate glucosamine promotes joint health, though the benefits can take as long as 8 weeks to show up, and effectiveness can vary from cat to cat.

What we can tell you is our own personal experience with it.

Caleb, Unca Ryker’s older brother and the cat who came before, lived to be almost 20 years old. And in his golden years, arthritis set in.

He was no longer able to jump up to sleep at the foot of the bed. Until we started him on glucosamine.

Our dad, a scientist and certified skeptic of all things, noticed it first (that’s because he claims mom’s notoriously unobservant, but we digress).

Just one week into glucosamine supplements and Caleb had shed ten years. He was tussling with Ryker and hopping up on the bed like a young thing.

If glucosamine was going to work at all, it should have taken longer than a week for us to see a change. But in Caleb's case, it worked wonders.

Your mileage may vary – but we were convinced.

So when a company in the UK – VetVits – approached us about hosting a glucosamine giveaway, we were interested.
And then when we read up about the company, we were impressed.

Founded by veterinarians 11 years ago, VetVits' sole focus is pretty much nothing but top quality supplements for dogs, cats and horses. And these supplements can be taken together without any worries about harmful interactions.

Flexi-Joints is a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement formulated specifically for cats.

That’s important because many formulations for humans can be either too strong a dose or can contain other ingredients that aren’t necessarily good for cats.

A bonus item in this giveaway is Glossy Coat Omega, a formulation that contains the essential fatty acids that promote both joint and heart health.

Cats require a steady amount of the omega oils in their diet and this is a tasty way to ensure they have what they need.

Entering the contest is easy. The giveaway is open this time only to readers in the UK.

Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget, which offers you several ways you can enter the drawing. The winner will be announced here two weeks from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All sponsorship compensation received was donated to Wayside Waifs, Missouri’s largest no-kill animal shelter. For more information on our blog's policies, please click on the Disclosures & Policies tab at the top of our blog.