Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, post travel

Maxwell, making sure no one leaves again...

Tuesday, May 29, 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, May 28, 2012

Monday Medical Issues: Pet insurance - worth it?

Just a few weeks ago, on May 7, Wall Street's MarketWatch published an article written by contributing author Jeanette Pavini that suggested pet insurance was a waste of money.

We do not agree.

First, there are an increasing number of affordable plans that begin as low as $4.08/month in the U.S. (at the date of this publication) for accident coverage only.  That's less than half the price of a movie ticket these days. Excuse me? Have you seen what's playing on the big screen? Let's talk "waste of money" here.

Second, the Wall Street article included a statement that inaccurately describes the coverage provided by most pet insurance companies. Here is the statement in question:

"...with most plans, the premiums rise and coverage declines as your pet gets older—when they are more likely to need costly procedures."

This seems highly counter-intuitive. If that were truly the case, what person in their right mind would purchase it?  This is irresponsible journalism on the part of Ms. Pavini. A bit of time spent searching several well-known U.S. insurance sites provided absolutely no evidence whatsoever that coverage shrinks as a pet ages. [One wonders where Ms. Pavini did her research...?]

So I went to three of the top pet insurance companies in the U.S. and asked them, point blank, if they did this. The answer, in all three cases, was unequivocally NO.

VPI: "Our coverage does not decline as a pet ages. We will not drop a pet or reduce coverage simply because a pet is getting older."

Trupanion: "Trupanion coverage does not decline as the pet ages. Perhaps they meant to say that coverage options (pre-enrollment only) decline?"

Quite possibly that's what the author meant. Because it is true that the cost to insure a pet increases as the pet ages. And the older the pet, the more potential exclusions there will be if you opt into coverage at a late date. It's the same with human insurance, as well.  But if that's what the Wall Street article intended to failed. The article certainly didn't leave one with that impression. In our opinion, Trupanion was being very kind and diplomatic to give the author an "out."

Then, at the recommendation of friend and artist Bz Tat, of Okey's Promise, I spoke with Laura Bennett, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance, and Chairman of the Board of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

Bz Tat, who also worked for decades as a child and family therapist, has a well developed ability to take the measure of a person and is someone whose opinion I respect. So when she referred to Ms. Bennett as a person who runs her company in a very principled manner, I asked for an introduction.

I then asked Ms. Bennett if she thought pet insurance was a waste of money, and if she would like to respond to the Wall Street article.  Here is what she said:

“I was really disappointed that the author of the article, Jeanette Pavini, based her opinion of pet insurance on one friend’s experience with one company.

Regarding the example she provided, it is true that a few pet insurers exclude hereditary conditions and given a Bernese Mountain Dog is prone to hip dysplasia amongst other conditions, that might have been the surgery she mentioned that was not covered; however, there are a number of pet insurers that do cover hereditary conditions (Embrace and Petplan being two of them) and even some of those that have not covered them in the past are adding optional coverage for breed-specific issues now (such as VPI and ASPCA).

I would love to discuss pet insurance with Ms Pavini just to show that pet insurance is not all the same and a high deductible policy to protect against large unexpected vet bills, just like her friend would have wished for, is worth getting.”

Finally, I personally believe Ms. Pavini's logic is flawed. She recommended that, instead of pet insurance, a person would be better off starting a pet emergency savings account. You can never convince me that the average American household is going to set aside funds for a pet's health care, despite the advice of Ms. Pavini's MarketWatch recommendation. Even if they did, the sticker shock factor of the large volume of money required all at once for an injury/illness may negatively impact the decision to seek care for the pet.  Again, Laura Bennett:

"Budgeting is for predictable expenses; insurance is for unpredictable and financially impactful veterinary costs. Unless you are very wealthy, budgeting can never replace insurance if you would do whatever it takes to help the health of your pet in a veterinary health decision."

Ryker, after sonogram test for lymphona
Having pet insurance may mean the difference between several more years of companionship or making that painful decision to euthanize.

And -- call me crazy, but in a way, I see pet insurance as another way to cut down on the number of deaths at animal shelters in the U.S. annually. (Yes, some people, upon discovering their "beloved pet" has an expensive disease, will simply abandon it. Seen it firsthand.)

Ryker was insured. A few months after he passed away, I did the math. In the end, we came out ahead (not by much, but we did end up spending less on our vet bills with insurance than we would have without).

All three of our kitties are insured, and they will remain so. If nothing else, the peace of mind, for us, is worth it.

And no, I was not compensated in any way for this post. I simply happen to believe personally that pet insurance is worth it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

...and so the summer begins...

Faraday: "I'm BORED. Nothing to do. Bored, bored, bored...."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Creative

See Maxwell's Creative Use of the Invisible Head Rest...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 22, 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, May 21, 2012

Monday Medical Issues: Pet Rx

photo credit: Justin1569 at en.wikipedia/Creative Commons
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the devastating Joplin tornado. In this catastrophic event, over 160 lives were lost and the tornado itself (over a mile wide in some places) caused an estimated $2.2 billion in damages.

Now, a year later, the National Weather Service has instituted a new warning system in five offices throughout Kansas and Missouri. What makes this new system so unusual is the wording isn't based on the scientific observation of the storm itself; rather, it's based on the impact the storm could have on the area's inhabitants.

We were unaware this change had been implemented, so a few weeks ago when a weather bulletin came out about an approaching storm that used phrasing like "mass destruction" and "unsurvivable".... Well. It had a profound impact. 

(The jury's still out on this new warning system and the NWS isn't certain they'll keep it. But I have to point out that, for that particular weekend, over 120 tornadoes were reported in the region.)

It prompted us to do something we'd been planning to do ever since Sebastian and CJ suffered the tragic fire in February: we put together an Emergency Kit. Two in fact - one for the humans and one for the pets.

Amy Palmer of "Sebastian the Sensitive Soul" has put together an excellent vlog on this so I won't go into the specifics of what should go into a pet emergency kit.

Since this is a "Medical Issues" series the reason for today's post is to ensure that, should you decide to create an emergency kit (and we highly recommend that you do) please don't forget your pet's medicines as well.

Often in emergencies, you can find yourself out of reach of veterinary medical staff for days. We have a week's worth of needed supplies in our kit.

Consider over the counter medicines in your arsenal, as well as prescription meds.

Ryker took an OTC antacid, prescribed by our vet. He also took Cosequin, L-Lysine, and a powdered form of lactobacillus acidophilus - the good bacteria that lives in your intestines. (As you might have guessed from the list, Ryker suffered from IBD - Irritable Bowel Syndrome.)

In Max & Faraday's cases, it would be their antibacterial gum gel and teeth sealants (I swear these guys are gonna be toothless by the age of 5!).

Whatever your pet's needs, be sure to include them in the kit. VPI Pet Insurance also recommends that you keep a copy of your pet's medical records in the kit as well. And you might want to consider including some therapy your pet doesn't normally need: calming oils like Rescue Remedy or Feliway Spray.

In an emergency, the more you can surround yourself and your pets with the familiar, the better you may be able to mitigate its stresses upon your family.

Be well, and may your days be filled with good and not tragedy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Sunday's message from Allie to Mom

(with a little help from dad...)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt: Magical

We think Springtime is Magical! And this year, it came and went all too soon *sigh*....


Friday, May 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes with the cats from Caboodle Ranch

Recently four people from Wayside Waifs, the animal shelter where I volunteer, returned from Jacksonville, Florida. They were called in by the ASPCA to assist in the care of over 700 cats seized in a massive rescue effort that began on Feb 27 when authorities raided Caboodle Ranch and arrested its owner on charges of animal abuse.

Caboodle ranch photo: Animal Hoarding News & Info
We’re not here to talk about Caboodle Ranch, its owner or the legal storm surrounding the situation. What interests us is, how did a Missouri no-kill shelter get involved and end up in Florida, helping sick cats?

Yesterday, I spoke with Sarah Little, Manager of Animal Health and Rescue at Wayside.

Me: Sarah, thanks for talking to the cats from A Tonk's Tail! How did Wayside Waifs get involved with the Caboodle Ranch cats?

Sarah: Well, Wayside is a partner organization with the ASPCA. Among other things, what this means is that they can call from time to time asking for our help. Usually it’s because of a natural disaster or a court case where the ASPCA is involved. This time, it was a call for help from them in caring for and treating the cats who had been brought to Jacksonville from Caboodle Ranch.

Me: How often does the ASPCA call on you for assistance?

Sarah: Last year, they asked for our help three or four times. It included the flooding that happened in southern Missouri, a large puppy mill that was shut down in Kentucky and – of course – the Joplin tornado just about this time last year.

Me: How does that work? And what does the ASPCA expect from you?

Sarah: They have a “responder coordinator” who reaches out to their partner organizations across the country. She then asks us if we have resources available we can send to help them, either in rescue efforts or efforts to maintain animals temporarily in their care.

One of the cats from Caboodle
(photo used with permission via photostream
Caboodle Ranch Animal Cruelty's FB page)

This time, four of us flew to Jacksonville, where 700 cats had been set up in the old (unused) Jacksonville animal shelter.

Me: Tell me what it was like down there.

Sarah:  Well, it was hot, and the ASPCA was very concerned about the temperature. They had us checking temperatures and the environment twice a day to ensure there was good air flow and the temperature stayed in the safe range.

The cats were all divided into Wards: the “A” Ward is for feral cats; “B,” “C” and “D” Wards are the general-to-healthy animals. There is the Iso Ward for the many cats suffering from upper respiratory infections.

Then there are two special Wards they’ve set up to meet the specific needs of this situation: the Ringworm Ward and the Maternity Ward.

Me: Wow, there were enough cats who were either pregnant of had ringworm to merit their own Ward?

Sarah: Yes, apparently no arrangements were ever made to spay or neuter these cats. As a result, there was a litter of kittens born each day we were there!

As for the Ringworm Ward, kudos to the one volunteer who traveled down there with us – she drew the short straw. When we arrived, we were all assigned as leaders over a Ward. And Penny (the Wayside volunteer) got the Ringworm Ward. That honor came with a position on the twice-a-week “Dipping Team”! (cats with ringworm are often subjected to a “lime bath” as treatment for the disease. FUN.)

Another Caboodle cat
(photo used with permission via photostream
Caboodle Ranch Animal Cruelty's FB page)
Me: Other than Penny’s exciting job, what were the days mostly like?

Sarah: We were each responsible for our wards, and that included feeding, cleaning kennels, and taking note of any unusual status  or behavior changes such as unusual hair loss – these we recorded twice a day.

And I got to do something I’ve never done before – for two days, the ASPCA had me in their office, functioning as their on-site responder/coordinator.

Me: What does that person do?

Sarah: Basically, they’re the team cheerleader. I took care of arranging hotels, lunches – things to help keep everyone’s spirits up. Especially the Ringworm people, who had to remain fully gowned at all times, and it was hot!

I think the two coolest things about being a responder partner with the ASPCA is that, when we get deployed to help with situations like this, we get to meet people from other animal shelters all over the United States. And that’s a great opportunity to network and swap information on how things are run at other shelters.  And of course there’s the fact that the work is just very rewarding.

One thing people may not realize: when the ASPCA engages in a rescue operation of this magnitude (and this is the biggest one they’ve ever done!) they’re in it until the courts have handed down a decision. And that can – and does – take months and months.

And legally, the owner of Caboodle Ranch still owns these cats. So they’re in the care of the ASPCA but they cannot alter them in any way. So no cats can be spayed or neutered. All we can do is treat illness and injury and see to their well-being. Until the courts decide their fate.

Once that happens, who knows? That’s the other cool thing – some of these cats we’re taking care of may some day make their way to Wayside where we will have the opportunity to place them in loving, responsible forever homes. And that’s exciting.

Please feel free to click the link below to see images of
other cats, taken by Univ. of Florida, etc.
All now in the care of the ASPCA in Jacksonville.
(photo used with permission via photostream
Caboodle Ranch Animal Cruelty's FB page)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jackson Galaxy: your questions, answered!

Last Thursday, Jackson Galaxy's book, "Cat Daddy" hit bookstores and cat lovers all over are raving about it. We had a chance to talk to Jackson about his book and posted that review on Release Day - May 10.

As promised, I shared your questions with Jackson when we talked.
Here, now, are his answers.


The first question I posed was from Whskr:

“What achievement in your work are you most proud of, the achievement you treasure most?”

Jackson begins to tell me the story of a little girl. Her dad brought her up to meet Jackson after his first public appearance. The dad nudges his daughter. 'She has something to tell you,' he says.

Jackson: “She waited for a second, then she turned to me and she said, 'some day I want to do what you do.'  And I said, 'That’s it! That’s it! Game over! We’re good!' ”

“All I care about is that there’s another generation.  All I care about is that we have set something up here so that we never have to slide back to killing 12 million animals a year because we have – all of us over all these years – have changed the culture.

"People will look back someday and say, 'What? They used to kill massive numbers of animals for no good reason? Wow…that must have been a long time ago!' So having that little girl say, 'I’ll pick up that baton' – that was huge.”

From Carolyn & Austin: "Who painted his arms?"

When Sebastian's mom over at Sebastian the Sensitive Soul interviewed him, she discovered that some of his arm tattoos (we hear they're called "sleeves" - and don't we kitties sound all hip and cool?) were inked in the Denver area, where so much of the book "Cat Daddy" took place.

From The Island Cats: "We wanna know if Jackson Galaxy is his real name. ;-) "

As you know, many celebrities use a nom de plume when working to help them separate their public life from their private. (In Jackson's case - and with some of the "hellish cat cases" he's had to deal with, we were wondering if we should call his a nom de guerre instead? ;-)

We can tell you this: when Jackson calls you, caller ID lights up with "Galaxy, Jackson"!

The last two questions? Well, those are easy.


Mr. Pip: “I’d like to know more about how he got started in the hellish cat business?”

And Mark’s Mews (Ayla, Iza and Marley): “How did his head furs fall down to his chin?”

Guys, it’s all there, right in the book. No spoilers, sorry. But we can tell you, it’s well worth the read.

And if you’re planning on picking up “Cat Daddy” please, be sure to do so as soon as possible. Any author will tell you, those critical first days can often determine a book's success, and whether the author gets renewed by the publisher for any future books. So if you plan to buy, please - buy now!


This book is a work of non-fiction published by Tarcher/Penguin, and contains moderate profanity. I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher free of charge, but all opinions in this review are my own.

Gratuitous picture of Faraday with book:

"Two paws up - waaay up!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'Toon Tuesdays

As many of you know, our peep gets to work with the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark).

These guys have their own blog and from time to time, some of the contributing artists use us kitties as subject matter. Sometimes they even use dogs too, can you believe it?

So we're introducing Toon Tuesdays to share some of them with you!

If you've never gone over to, you're missing some pretty funny stuff.  Here are some of our faves:

Today's 'Toon

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Medical Issues: Microchips, part 2

Last week, we discussed the risks and benefits of microchipping your pet. This week, we'll look at how the microchip works, as well as other reasons the microchip is worth considering that you might not have thought of.

Science Stuff and
More Myth Busting

A microchip puts out an RF (radio frequency) signal that can be picked up by a scanner. There are 3 different frequencies used by companies that manufacture pet microchips in the U.S.:

Photo Wiki Commons, courtesy Helene Gisin.
Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0

125-kHz microchips:
24PetWatch® (unencrypted)
FriendChip®, Avid (encrypted)
HomeAgain®/Digital Angel (unencrypted)

128-kHz microchips:
AKC Companion Animal Recovery®

134.2-kHz microchips:
Bayer ResQ®
HomeAgain®/Digital Angel

The reason I listed all that geeky kHz stuff above is because there's a myth involved here that we're about to bust. The myth is, "OMG, my cat's got the 134 kHz chip and she's going to get euthanized if she runs away and gets picked up by a shelter that only scans for 125 kHz chips!!"

Not true.

Although individual brands of microchips are designed to work best at their specific frequency, they have quite good readability on other frequencies as well. This is confirmed in FCC government filings which show that scanners marketed as "multi-frequency" are really only single frequency scanners. (see source links at bottom of post)

a kHz sine wave

The second myth to bust is the one about radio frequencies causing cancer. First off, your pet is not walking around broadcasting a signal at all times. in fact, it's the scanner itself that sends out a pulse that "excites" the microchip into giving off a sympathetic response.

(Not that kind of excitement, Cathy Keisha. Just sayin'.)

Second, the signal the scanner provokes the microchip into sending out is orders of magnitude less than that cell phone you hold to your ear on a daily basis. Microchips operate in the kilohertz range; your cell phone emits in the gigahertz range. (And no we're not even getting into the cell phone topic here, LOL!)

Other really good reasons to microchip

Probably the most compelling argument I've ever seen for microchipping your pet occurred this past February -- when I watched the apartment complex where Amy and Kathi lived (Sebastian the Sensitive Soul and CJ's Paw Pad) go up in flames.

As those of you who have followed our blog for some time know, twenty apartments were destroyed in that fire.  A fire that was so bad, the fire inspector told Amy, that "the building was lost before we even arrived."

Police were racing against time to save lives. They were going around kicking doors in. Animals raced out, some never to be found again. One cat, though, was microchipped. His owners were not home at the time of the fire. They lost everything they owned -- except their cat, who was returned to them days later.

In an emergency like a fire or a natural disaster such as the Joplin tornado -- the first anniversary of which we'll be commemorating next week -- your pet can be separated from you in the blink of an eye. A microchip might be the only way they find their way back to you.

Worth it? You bet.

source:  U.S. FCC database search form

(Submit the form with "Grantee Code" and "Product Code" for each individual scanner; for the new universal Digital Angel/HomeAgain Scanner, still operating at 125 kHz (0.125 megahertz) codes "C5S" and "HS9250L"; for a recent AVID scanner, operating at 134.2 kHz (0.1342 megahertz), codes "IOL" and "-134-AV1034I" .)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms - human, four-legged or otherwise -
we wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Our Five Fave Tweets BONUS EDITION: Classic Ryker

Classic Ryker Part 1

  1. This morning I was all ctrl+alt+NOSE then ctrl+alt+NIPEAR. NOTHING worked. sheeesh! Howz a kitty to get his morning kibble around here C'MON WOMAN REBOOT!
  2. Humans. SOOO Gullible. *snort* Hey look, isn't that Brad Pitt? munchmunchmunch OH LOOK, YOU FINISHED ALL YOUR FRIES
  3. @VPI so Person just insured @Allie_Kitti (aka Allie The Pest). That means she's STAYING. I feel the need for a therapeutic massage coming on...that covered under my policy, right?
  4. WANNA KNOW HOW A SNOTTY CAT PURRS? Maxwell: "purrrrSKNNKKKpurrrSKKNNNKKKKpurrrrSKKNNNKKKKKpurrrr..." oh, and then there's the juicy spray.
  5. FACEBOOKING (verb): you open book, I plant my face in it. PRIORITIES, HUMAN, PRIORITIES! nothing's more important than petting me!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our ABC meme!

Thanks to Pumpkin at The Adventures of a Suburban Kitty, today's post is mine, all mine!

Pumpkin tagged me in the ABC meme. So here are my answers!

We tag Sebastian and CJ! Your turn to tell us more about you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review of "Cat Daddy" by Jackson Galaxy

I recently finished an advance reader’s copy of Jackson Galaxy’s new book, “Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean”.  Jackson is the star and host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” currently in production for its third season.

To give you an idea of the impact this book can have, the first words out of my mouth when I spoke to Jackson recently were, “I gotta tell you, I sobbed my way through your book!”

Jackson laughs. “ME too!” he says, “Me too.”
“Cat Daddy” came about as a promise made to a dear friend on his deathbed. That this dear friend has four paws and a tail makes no difference. His name was Benny and he was Jackson’s longtime feline companion.  Abandoned by his previous owner after having been hit by a car (“he never bonded with me anyway,” she called over her shoulder as she dumped the carrier and ran), Benny was a mess.

But unbondable? Misunderstood, certainly. Until Jackson came into his life.

And so this book is Benny’s story. But Benny’s story cannot be told without telling Jackson’s story, the two are that closely intertwined. “It was originally supposed to be just ‘how to live with the biggest pain in the ass cat ever put on earth’,” Jackson tells me. But it didn’t turn out that way.

This book details the journey of two broken souls both inside and out. Jackson claims the story is really about the gifts Benny gave him, but it’s obvious to any reader that the gifting went both ways. Benny was one very lucky kitty to have Jackson there when his previous owner did her “dump-and-run” act.

“Cat Daddy” is an achingly honest tale of Jackson’s struggle to overcome addiction. It's raw and uncensored. “The only way to tell his story was to tell the rest of it. Otherwise, believe me…I never would have done it. Why would I?”

Galaxy gives no quarter. He is brutally candid about himself and that kind of honesty takes loads of courage. You can’t help but walk away feeling, perhaps, just a bit emotionally wrung out because you're right there with him every step of the way. But you leave with a profound respect for the man, and the obstacles (some, he freely admits, of his own making) that he has overcome.

And of course, you can’t have a book about the Cat Daddy without lots of his very own brand of cat wisdom. Tips even seasoned cat owners can learn from are peppered throughout the book. Many of these tips were ones I knew – many you’ll know. But you may be surprised at the number of times you're faced with new information, "ah-hah" moments that make such perfect sense you'll wonder how you've missed them all these years.

There were two insights that especially resonated with me.

One was at a pivotal turning point in Jackson’s relationship with Benny. So pivotal, in fact, that Jackson writes, “I hit my knees.” Figuratively speaking, I did too. He talks in the book about how he suddenly realized he'd been holding Benny to human standards rather than allowing him to be what he was made to be: a cat. Sound simplistic? Go grab a copy of the book, read through to chapter seven, and then let’s talk.

The second was another simple yet profound concept: “If you choose to share your life with others, you have a responsibility to check your sh— at the door or others will suffer.” I don't need to tell you how much better the world would be if more people practiced this.

Everyone who reads this book will take away something different. Perhaps I cried through the book because, even after a year and a half, I’m still grieving over Ryker. Turns out Jackson’s still grieving, too. We touched briefly on that.

“He died two years ago last week,” Jackson tells me. “So this whole experience is, for me, a beautiful time capsule – it’s absolutely pure, it’s not diluted by time or anything. It happened the way it happened. The promise was made.  As a matter of fact, the computer folder on my desktop that contained all of the first pieces of writing…was just called Promise.”

He thinks a moment. “It’s almost like a door stop in your grieving process, like you can’t close that door because you’re going to write this freaking book…” His voice breaks and he pauses a moment, takes a deep breath. “And for the next 2 solid years … I mean, I’m giving interviews on TV and I’m crying about it because I’ve not – the door stop’s not out yet.  I’m hoping that by the time the book is out and the book tour is over that it’ll become the memory that it should be…but right now – amazingly enough, it’s still fresh.”


It’s a relief to know I’m not the only one who still grieves, even more than a year later.
And really. How cool is it to meet a guy this compassionate, who loves cats?


"Cat Daddy" is a book that's sometimes shocking in its emotional intensity, and unequivocally forthright.

It's filled with a treasure trove of cat wisdom that makes this a must-read for any cat lover.

A favor: one thing I've learned from my author friends is that a book's Release Week plays a huge factor in determining how well a book does. Publishers scrutinize these numbers when determining if they'll consider accepting another book by that author.

So if you're planning to buy this book and haven't yet, please pick up a copy as soon as you have the chance.  It goes on sale today.

Next week: Your questions, answered.


This book is a work of non-fiction published by Tarcher/Penguin, and contains moderate profanity. I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher free of charge, but all opinions in this review are my own.

Gratuitous picture of Faraday with book:

"Two paws up - waaay up!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Great Escape!

Maxie opened the back door for me yesterday.

I ran under the deck and wouldn't come out.
Except to sniff the catnip.

Nice herb garden, Mommy!

(Allie sniffs Faraday's Da Bird as "bait")

HEY ALLIE! Get away from that! It's MINE!
(Oh BTW Mommy, your housecleaning skills under the deck: FAIL)

What do you mean, "AHA, now I got you!"?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kitteh Komplaints

I have the Very Meanest Mommy ever to exist on the planet, E-V-E-R!
Listen to what she did to me!!!

First she bundles me up and STUFFS me in this carrier thingy...

And THEN she takes me to this place that smells of doggies..and she... (wait for it)...she...leaves me there. I know, I know...shocking.

They did all sorts of Unmentionable things to me and the next thing I knew I was singing drunken sailor tunes at the top of my lungs and Mommy was laffing at me while we drove home.

But wait! There's More!

We get home, she lets me out of that Horrid Contraption...and I discover this icky Purple Thing has attached itself to my leg!

But do I get any help at all from the Meanest Mommy Ever? Ohhh nooooooooo.... She just gets out the flashy box and proceeds to follow me around. HMPF.

Well, if she's not going to help me, I'm not going to help her. Notice the only thing in focus in any of these shots is the Horrid Purple Thing.

Trying to emphasize a point here: I has the Very Meanest Mommy Ever, can you tell?

I had to just walk away in disgust.

(Note from Mom: Faraday had his teeth cleaned, and the purple bandage was a pressure bandage that had to stay on for one hour only, and then came off. If I'm lucky, I might be forgiven by Chanukah. Just in time to give him more Wand Toys.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Medical Issues: Microchipping

Since May is Microchip Your Pet Month, we thought it would be a good topic for a Monday Medical Issues post.

Microchipping is growing in popularity, with an increasing number of animal shelters offering it as a free service to all animals upon adoption.

But what are the statistics surrounding microchipping?

What are the risks? What are the benefits? And - most important - do the benefits outweigh the risks?

photo: Adobe Veterinary Center
Microchipping your pet involves embedding a rice-sized pellet between your dog or cat's shoulder blades just below the back of the neck. (On other animals the location may vary, and in Continental Europe, the practice is to locate the microchip in the left side of the neck).

No anesthesia is required, though I have to admit, I requested it be done while Faraday was anesthetized during his teeth cleaning after I saw Allie cry out when she was injected - those needles are just a teensy bit bigger than standard!

This pellet contains a tracking number that is maintained in a database. That database contains owner information and, depending on the database, can also contain veterinarian info and even medical records.

When an animal is found, one of the first things a veterinarian or animal shelter does is to scan the animal for a microchip.

Microchip Myths, Facts
and Scientific Stuff

One of the stories circulating around microchips is that they cause cancer. That fear may be related to the fact that some vaccination injection sites have proven to cause cancer in some animals, particularly cats. (this will be the topic of a future Monday Medical Issues post). Here's what the research tells us: the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) maintains a database on the adverse reactions of microchips on animals. At the time the study was posted, only 391 animals out of 4 million were reported experiencing an adverse reaction. That's 0.00010%, or 1 out of every 10,000 animals microchipped.

And the majority of those issues involved the migration of the microchip, not cancer. Two of those cases recorded were dogs who had developed cancer at the site, but one of them, according to the BSAVA study, may have been caused by something else.

In comparison, you're about 4 times more likely to die in an auto accident than your pet is to have any kind of adverse reaction at all, and 4 times more likely to be struck by lightning than your pet is to get cancer from a microchip.

As a result, the American Veterinary Medical Association has deemed microchipping to be worth the risk. 

Picture Source: ainhoap and Animal Photos!
Why? Let's talk about the benefits for a few minutes. 

A study of almost 8,000 stray animals at animal shelters concluded that dogs who were not microchipped were only reunited with their owners about 22% of the time.

Dogs who were microchipped were reunited over 52% of the time. 

That more than doubled your pup's chance of finding you should you become separated. 

And the odds for cats exponentially increase. A non-chipped cat has less than a 2% chance of being reunited with his owner. But microchipped cats went back to their families almost 40% of the time.

We're all for increasing the odds of any lost pet being rehomed, so we give microchips four paws up.

Next week:  

The science behind how microchips work 
and other reasons for microchipping you 
might not have considered

sources:  Lord, et al, "Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association", July 15, 2009 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Allie: Miss "May" 2012

We interrupt our regular programming for a Big Announcement...

And cuz Mommy made us. *dodges Maxie's paw* (Well, she did...)

Allie is the Cover Kitty for the month of May on Wayside Waif's 2012 calendar!