Sunday, March 31, 2013

Have you talked with your cat about catnip?

Maybe you should.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fond Memories of Summer....

...and the Saturday Photo Hunt: Wind

Allie: "Oh how I miss my summer deck time, with the wind in my fur!"


We're also purrticipating in the Weekend Cat Blogging blog hop...

...and the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop, hosted by Baby Patches, Life with Dogs and Two Little Cavaliers.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"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.


Oh dear. If Allie saw this, it'd be a must-have.

Coming again from the same people who put Faraday behind the yoke of a plane, this Pink Catillac
is just the place for your cat to hang out in style.

You can drive away with this little beauty for a cool $30 - at

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Divine Design?

Allie, what are you doing?!?

I'm measuring our blog, Brat. What does it look like I'm doing?
This place is not nearly PINK enough if you ask me.

Uhm, Allie... We boyz kinda like it this way.

Well we don't always get what we want, now do we?
Although, in this case, I sincerely hope I do.
I've entered us into Glogirly Design's  
Grand Opening Giveaway! 

(*cue squee*)

Oh bother.

Thursday Trivia: Cat Calls

I always thought that a cat call was that thing goofy guys did when a cute girl walked by.

Boy was I wrong. (I guess those are woof whistles?)

The cat call traces its origin back to Shakespeare's time (mid-1600's), where the phrase meant to boo bad acting.

file: Wikimedia Commons public domain

It came to be known as a cat call because the booing signified the audience's opinion: that the acting sounded as bad as a fence full of yowling cats. (OUCH)

maybe not such a good name for a song?
Etymology Online, Wiki Answers and Memidex Online Dictionary

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sheets Expert

Allie: "...and Faraday thinks he knows how to tame a set of sheets? Stand back, brat, and watch an expert in action."

(whew, exhausting work, Allie! Nap time all around.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Faraday, that's not such a good idea...

Peeps, seriously. Who stole SPRING? We'd like it back, please.

'Toon Tuesdays

Waaaaaaitaminit! We protest!


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, March 25, 2013

Do you know what's in your pet's food?

March: National Nutrition Month

Over the past decade, people have become increasingly more health conscious. This can be a highly controversial topic - just look at the hot debate surrounding New York’s attempt to pass a soft drink tax in an effort to discourage unhealthy diets!

This controversy spills over into what we feed our pets as well.

What we’re not going to talk about 

Allie likes her raw diet
Our post for Nutrition Month isn’t going to go there. Yes, we feed grain-free. Yes, we feed raw. However, we’re not going to try to convince you our way is the right way.

If you want to initiate a conversation about it off-grid and find out why we do it, we’d be happy to chat.

But bottom line, we understand that the best diet in the world isn’t going to do a cat any good if he or she refuses to eat it.

What we'd like to do instead is to provide you with information, sources and links you can use to help you make the best decision for the pets in your family.

What are the basics about
 pet nutrition that you
 should know? 

It might be helpful to know exactly what the U.S. government does and does not regulate. In the source notes below, we’ve provided you with links to the FDA's web site, so you can read about it in greater detail directly from them. But what they cover - or rather, don't cover - might surprise you.

Briefly stated, the FDA "requires that pet foods, like human foods, be pure and wholesome, contain no harmful or deleterious substances and be truthfully labeled.  The FDA and individual states always retain the right to inspect production facilities, particularly under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)."

Please note what that statement does not say:
  1. The FDA will not specify what a harmful substance is. Unfortunately, that can include several common foods that we might not think twice about giving to our pets, such as onion, garlic, or avocado
  2. The FDA does not inspect your pet food company’s production facilities; they merely retain the right to do so.

You'll find all sorts of interesting things in the Animal & Veterinary section of the FDA's web site. For instance, did you know that the FDA found the drug pentobarbitol in dry dog food? Per the FDA:
"pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses."

Another regulating authority is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies.

If you delve into their site a bit, you’ll find that the AAFCO has no regulatory authority. They do not regulate, test, approve or certify pet foods in any way:

"AAFCO establishes the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods, and it is the pet food company's responsibility to formulate their products according to the appropriate AAFCO standard. It is the state feed control official's responsibility in regulating pet food to ensure that the laws and rules established for the protection of companion animals and their custodians are complied with so that only unadulterated, correctly and uniformly labeled pet food products are distributed in the marketplace and a structure for orderly commerce."

In both of the above instances, there is great leeway given to pet food manufacturers in how they formulate their food. The pet owner is thrust into a clear caveat emptor situation: buyer beware. It is incumbent upon us as pet owners to determine if what we feed is appropriate and meets the requirements our pets need for a healthy life.

One additional bit of information we wanted to toss into this discussion - simply because we did not know this, and found it fascinating - is a statement made not too long ago by Laura Alvey, Deputy Director for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM): “Prescription diet is an industry-coined term and holds no legal meaning.”

The term “Prescription Diet” is a registered trademark of Hill’s Pet Nutrition (by their own admission) and should not be confused with any pharmaceutical your veterinarian may prescribe for your pet’s health and well-being.

Why is this important to know? 

You may have noticed that there has been an increasing number of pet food recalls in the past year or so. Many of these recalls are for dry pet foods that have been found to contain salmonella - a bacteria normally associated with the handling of raw meat.

one of the brands identified
by the FDA as contaminated
[ By comparison, the Canadian Veterinary Journal published an assessment back in 2002 of the risk of salmonella to dogs fed a raw diet, and stated that "no reports documenting clinical salmonellosis in dogs fed a BARF diet have been published."

Interestingly, the risk of salmonella is more to humans than it is to animals. Experts believe this is due to the shorter length and increased efficiency of the intestinal tract in animals as compared to humans. Bacteria simply does not have the opportunity to develop in our pets.  When our veterinarian heard we were feeding our cats a raw diet, his concern wasn't for them but rather for us. ]

Sadly, salmonella isn't the only cause for pet food recalls. Since 2007, the FDA has issued warnings for contaminants in chicken jerky treats that have caused illness and death in dogs. And to date, scientists have been unable to determine a cause.

Because of these health scares, many pet owners unsurprisingly have opted to feed their pets homemade diets to protect them from such illnesses. But here's the rub: veterinarians are beginning to see an uptick in the number of pets who suffer from health issues as a result of feeding a homemade, nutritionally incomplete diet.

Know what your pet’s nutritional needs are

Based on the above information, it's become increasingly important to know your pet's nutritional needs.

First, a nutritionally complete pet food should have a statement similar to "(pet food brand) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for (life stage)." They may also go so far as to state that they comply with NRC regulations.

(NRC regulations? Why should I care if my pet's food is approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Click here to find out - the answer may surprise you!)

In our opinion, based on what we know of radiation physics, if a pet food also states that their ingredients are sourced from USDA-inspected facilities or are made from human grade foods, well, that's even better.

Second, don't be confused by misleading marketing terms.

Dr. Ashley Hughes, a veterinarian at Friendship Hospital For Animals in the DC area, states on PetMD's website that "pet food labels are not very helpful." They can be confusing and difficult to decipher, especially when they carry such claims as "natural" or "holistic" that make interpreting a label very difficult indeed.

Third, if you opt to feed a homemade diet, please seek out a reputable, medically sound source that will provide you with the ingredients necessary for your pet's physical well-being. Cats, for instance, require a certain amount of taurine in their diet. As obligate carnivores, they need the taurine found in meat protein, so if they're fed a diet rich in plant proteins, taurine must be added as a supplement. (We personally feel cats must eat meat - and even then, we choose a food that has taurine added to ensure nutritional balance.)

Below, you'll also find a list of links to a few places where you can find guidelines for homemade diets by actual veterinarians and animal hospitals.

Whatever you end up feeding your pet, we hope that this information is helpful to you as you make those decisions.


Animal & Veterinary Pet Food Landing Page
Center for veterinary Medicine Updates, News & Events
Pet Food Industry Guidelines
Animal Food & Feeds Section

Main Page
The Business of Pet Food
Ingredients: Making Pet Food

Deconstructing Pet Food Labels

AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association):
Pet Nutrition Alliance

Veterinarian-sourced pet food recipes and ingredients lists:
WebMD's article on homemade pet food (raw and cooked recipes)
Dr. Lisa Pierson's feline Nutrition site
Dr. Jean Hofve's article on homemade diets for cats and dogs
Dr. Karen Becker's Real Food for Healthy Cats and Dogs Cookbook

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Will one of us be the Next Top Cat?

We're so excited - we're in the running to be one of AmazeCat's Next Top Cats!


And we're soooo bummed that we're two whole days behind the rest of the contenders, due to technical issues with AmazeCat's site (and the fact we had no 'vote' button until this morning).

Please won't you take 5 seconds to click over and help us catch up? You can vote once each day.

Thanks ever so much!

Reward pleez!

"Holding down your sheets for you. Now where's my treat?"

We're sooo sorry we haven't been visiting much this weekend. Mommy's cleaning and cooking like mad for all the people coming over to see ME tomorrow night.

Dood. It's for Passover, not to see you.

Whatevs. Dibs on the Afikomen!

UPDATE: Snowmageddon Part 3 hit us overnight!

Nine inches of snow, with more to come tomorrow! eek!
 Um, did someone misplace Spring? Can we have it back???

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Photohunt: Flow

Maxwell studies the phenomenon of what makes water flow.

Oh, and yes, he discovered water is also wet.


We're also participating in the Weekend Cat Blogging blog hop...

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Fun Finds" Friday

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.


Today's Fun Find is limited to folks in the Austin, Texas metro area. But that doesn't mean we can't drool over it! This magnificent cat tree is made by the Cat Carpenter, David Murphy. David's the Director of Sanctuary Operations for the no-kill Shadow Cats Sanctuary in Round Rock, TX (a suburb north of Austin).

photo copyright The Cat Carpenter, used with permission

 David has made several of these lovely cat trees for Shadow Cats and the kitties adore them!

photo copyright The Cat Carpenter, used with permission

 But wait! There's more! (We just love saying that)
Take a gander at these fantastic cat shelves and tunnels. Talk about every kitty's Superhighway dream...

photo copyright The Cat Carpenter, used with permission

If you live in the Austin metro area, you can have one of your very own, custom designed to fit your home.
We can really see ourselves sitting in one of these fancy tunnels! If only we lived closer....

photo copyright The Cat Carpenter, used with permission

While you're drooling over these photos, click on over to Shadow Cats and check them out. From time to time, they hold online auctions, and if you have a few extra pennies to spare, you can sponsor one of these lovely sanctuary cats.

Many thanks to David for sharing his story with us - and we so wish we lived closer so we could get one of those cat trees!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Trivia: to "Put on the Dog"

If you're going to "put on the dog", that means you plan to get seriously dressed up.

The earliest reference in print is from a book written in 1871, entitled Four Years at Yale, and indicates that the phrase may have begun as college slang.

It explains, “To put on dog is to make a flashy display, to cut a swell.”

Manet's Portrait of a Man
(public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

We wonder if that's why the stiff stand-up shirt collars that were the height of male fashion in the 1870s and 80s were known as "dog collars"!

Sources:, Online Etymology Dictionary

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Riff Raff Reporting In

Don't tell Allie we're playing with her wand toy.
She's hard enough to live with right now after yesterday's feature article on and we don't want any more trouble.

                                           The Riff Raff
                                           (you had to be there. *sigh*)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Can a girl ever have enough accessories?

Just for the record, Allie's being insufferable today.
And - in case you were wondering - it's not my fault.

 Allie was featured on today in a lighthearted article about how we indulge our pets.
Click the photo below to check it out!

'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, March 18, 2013

BREAKING: Pet Food Salmonella Recall

Natura Pet, makers of Evo, Innova, California Natural and HealthWise brands of pet food are recalling the following dry dog, cat and ferret foods:

       •Weight Control
       •Lamb & Oatmeal

California Naturals:
       •Kangaroo & Red Lentil

       •All three cat formulas
       •Adult large bite
       •Senior plus
       •Prime beef & lamb
       •Herring & Salmon
       •Large breed adult & puppy

       •Turkey & Chicken Cat & Kitten
       •Herring & Salmon Cat food
       •Red Meat Large Bites Dog
       •Turkey & Chicken - Dog
       •Weight Management 

The specific runs impacted are the ones that have an expiration date between 12/17/13 and 1/2/14.
Please check the lot numbers on any bag of pet food you may own against the lot numbers listed on Natura Pet's link, here.

If in doubt, you can contact the company at (800) 532-7261 between 8 AM and 5:30 PM, CST, Monday – Friday.

Frosty Doppelganger

We're taking a break this week from our weekly Monday Medical series, but we'll be back next week for National Nutrition Month!
I awoke one morning a few days ago, wondering how in the world Faraday could cling to that narrow ledge that was the window sash.

 Then I realized what I was seeing...

Fooled by a frosty morning!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hallmark Partners with the RSPCA

Look at what the folks at Hallmark are up to now!

Some of the cards available now in the U.K.

Hallmark has entered into an agreement with the RSPCA to feature their animals on greeting cards, gift wrap and stationery products. Each card provides a link to the RSPCA website where you can find information about the pets featured in the photographic design.

Both Hallmark and the RSPCA expressed enthusiasm over the 3 year agreement, with Hallmark executive Emma Read stating, "Having the chance to bring these images to our cards and other personal expression products has been a great opportunity — not just to employ these wonderful images on our cards but to help the RSPCA raise valuable funds to help animals."

The product line will be available at supermarkets and card specialist stores across the U.K.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday PhotoHunt: Footprints

As many of you know, we were in a bit of upheaval at home during January & February
while the floors are being refinished.

Here, we present evidence that yes, the floors indeed were sanded,
as the incriminating foot-- err, pawprints -- attest!



We're also participating in the Weekend Cat Blogging blog hop...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rally the Troops

Friends, it's with great dismay that we write this afternoon after hearing about an op-ed article in yesterday's Orlando Sentinel written by Ted Williams, field editor for the magazine Audobon.

In it, he writes, “There are… effective, humane alternatives to the cat hell of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). One is Tylenol (the human pain medication)—a completely selective feral cat poison.”

Friends, not only is this illegal, there is nothing humane about Tylenol poisoning.

We called Dr, Sara Huber of Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital and here is her response:
"To say Tylenol is humane is completely inaccurate. In fact, Tylenol poisoning is terribly inhumane. It causes severe, life threatening anemia - basically the cat will bleed to death."

And to say it is a completely selective poison? No poison is completely selective. If it's left out in the open, any animal can ingest it, including indoor/outdoor pet cats who are not feral. And while the active ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen, is generally safe for rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks, it is not safe for dogs.

Not only is Mr. Williams' article inaccurate and misleading, it encourages individuals to break the law:

“Killing a cat is a criminal offense in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Ted Williams used a major media platform to call for cats to be illegally and tortuously killed. It cannot be excused,” says president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies, Becky Robinson.

We join Alley Cat Allies - and fellow bloggers all over the world - in calling for the immediate dismissal of Ted Williams by Audobon. Please click here to sign their petition.

This article is more than egregiously irresponsible reporting. It calls into question the man's journalistic ethics. This is a personal vendetta, plain and simple. And it must stop.

"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.


We have Kjelle Bus (aka Charlie Rascal) to thank for this one!

Straight from Sweden, this is the Globe Window Birdfeeder. A suction cup adheres it to the outside of a window, and can provide hours of kitty enjoyment.

As soon as we saw it, we knew it was a must-have for  us. The Bird TV Channel is pretty popular around here, so this will be like installing the kitty version of an IMAX 3D Theater in our home!

To see this little beauty in action, take a look here at Kjelle Bus' photo - you can see how entranced he is by the Real Deal!
You can buy this online at Gardener's Supply Company for only $19.95.

Thanks, Kjelle Bus, for blazing the trail!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Trivia: Cat's Paw

This phrase is based on an old European folk tale, which made it into Aesop’s Fables:

“A cat and a monkey were sitting one day in the chimney corner watching some chestnuts which their master had laid down to roast in the ashes.

one of earliest known illustrations of the fable, 1578
The chestnuts had begun to burst with the heat, and the monkey said to the cat, "It is plain that your paws were made especially for pulling out those chestnuts. Do you reach forth and draw them out. Your paws are, indeed, exactly like our master's hands."

The cat was greatly flattered by this speech, and reached forward for the tempting chestnuts, but scarcely had he touched the hot ashes than he drew back with a cry, for he had burnt his paw; but he tried again, and managed to pull one chestnut out; then he pulled another, and a third, though each time he singed the hair on his paws.

When he could pull no more out he turned about and found that the monkey had taken the time to crack the chestnuts and eat them.”
(Fables from Aesop)

It didn’t originate with Aesop, though.

The earliest text dates back to 1564, and the cat in this version was swapped for a sleeping puppy: “Not long ago in Berga (a small town by the sea where the road to fat Zeeland begins) a small monkey gave us an example noteworthy and amusing for its cunning. For, when he saw the chestnuts buried in the hearth, he began to brush the ash aside, but, afraid of the burning coals, he suddenly seized the foot of a sleeping puppy and stole it out.” (Johannes Sambucus, Emblemata, 1564)

It seems, though, that oral history predates them all.

There’s an oblique reference to the fable in the French book Proverbes written in 1456, where author Jean Mielot comments “it’s a cat and monkey game” in a way that suggests the fable was common knowledge.

In the end, we agree with website Word Detective: “although cats in mythology and folklore are generally portrayed as wily, clever, resourceful and sophisticated, the story behind "cat's paw" is an exception to the rule, and not one that any self-respecting cat would want on his resume”!

sources: Fairy Tales 4 U, Wikipedia, Word Detective, Google books, Glasgow University

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Garden

Maxwell:  Don't mind if I do, thanks Allie!  *nom*
Allie: Don't you even THINK of it, Brat... This is my winter hangout.