Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Repose


Don't Forget! 
You have until  6 PM CST this Thursday to enter our World's Best Cat Litter Giveaway!
Winners will be announced this Friday.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Toon Tuesdays

We predict a smacky-paw in 3...2...


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!


Don't Forget! 
You have until  6 PM CST this Thursday to enter our World's Best Cat Litter Giveaway!
Winners will be announced this Friday.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Medical: Heartworm in Cats

Two summers ago, we had quite a scare: Allie developed a croupy, dry cough and when examined, our veterinarian advised us to get her tested for heartworms. It was the first we'd ever heard that a cat might be susceptible to this parasite.

Allie gave us quote a scare a few years ago!
Not only that, but we were informed that their practice treated more cats with heartworms in 2011-2012 than they did dogs.

Each summer since, we've felt this to be a critical message to pass along - especially here in the midwest.

And if my experience outside yesterday evening was any indication, we're in for another mosquito-infested summer in our neck of the woods.

So we decided to ask Dr. Sara Huber of Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital to help us understand the symptoms, risks and preventive care for heartworms in cats.

Heartworm in Cats, Part 1

Dr. Sara Huber of
Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital
A Tonk's Tale: Hasn't heartworm traditionally been a dog disease?

Dr. Sara Huber: Yes. But though we typically think of dogs as the host of heartworms, the life cycle also can be completed in cats. Infection rates are usually 10-20% that of dogs in endemic regions.

Several studies have shown that heartworm infection rate in cats is actually greater than that for FIV and FeLV!

ATT: That is one scary statistic. We heard that it can take a while for heartworms to manifest in a cat...?

Dr. Huber: That's true. Here's how it works: an infected mosquito bites a cat and larvae migrate through the subcutaneous and vascular tissue.
Once they enter the bloodstream, the larvae are brought to the pulmonary arteries and into the lungs (3-4 months post infection). Only a small amount of heartworms mature to the adult stage. These are able to reproduce around 7-8 months post infection (1-2 months longer than in dogs).

The disease in cats is split into three stages. The first stage is associated with the arrival of the juvenile worms in the pulmonary arteries and they develop an acute inflammatory reaction. This stage is followed by a symptom free period where the host immune response is suppressed and the worms are maturing.

When the worms die, an intense inflammatory response develops with sudden death reported in 10-20% of cats (stage 2). If they survive this stage, they go onto stage 3 which is permanent lung injury and chronic respiratory disease.

ATT: This is something we did not know about - but it makes such sense, given that the parasite takes up residency in the cat - sometimes for years. Are there any signs we can watch for?

Dr. Huber: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Owners may notice a variety of clinical signs including chronic cough, sudden difficulty breathing, vomiting, lethargy, etc. Vomiting and coughing are common clinical signs in heartworm infected cats and when seen together should be a red flag for the veterinarian.

Asthmatic-like signs are common 3-4 months after infection. But unfortunately, sometimes the only clinical sign the owners see is severe respiratory distress or sudden death. (I know this is scary to hear, but don't worry! Its preventable!!)

ATT: Is there a conclusive test that exists to diagnose this?

Dr. Huber: Confirming a diagnosis often requires a combination of tests. The testing is hard to explain in non-veterinary language. Tests for antigen and antibody, when used together, improves the probability of making a correct diagnosis. Simply put, talk to your veterinarian about which blood test(s) are best to confirm the disease if it is suspected.

Thoracic radiography and/or echocardiography are very useful in conjunction with blood tests, though radiographic changes consistent with heartworm disease are only seen in about half the cats suspected to have the disease.

Echocardiography can be very useful in determining the severity of damage from the disease but is very operator dependent and should be done by a specialist skilled in this trade.

We thank Dr. Huber for her time and insight into this scary but preventable disease!

Next week:
Treatment and Complications
for Heartworm in Cats


Don't Forget! 
You have until  6 PM CST this Thursday to enter our World's Best Cat Litter Giveaway!
Winners will be announced this Friday.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BREAKING: Cat and Dog Treat Recall

A recall was announced last night, according to Healing Springs Animal Hospital, of both dog and cat treats suspected of being made in China.

The treats being recalled were discovered to have traces of antibiotics not approved for use in the United States. These treats are marketed under the brand names Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty. The antibiotics discovered were Sulfaclovine, Tilmicosin, Trimethoprim, Enrofloxacin, and Sulfamethoxazole.

Families can contact Dogswell for a refund at 888-559-8833, Monday - Friday, 8AM to 5PM.

According to Healing Springs, "Apparently, Dogswell LLC has been aware of the potential for illicit antibiotics in these treats since January 2013. In January, the diligence of the NYSDAM led to the recalls in six popular pet treat brands.

"In January 2013, Dogswell, LLC upgraded their internal testing procedures to ensure their foreign sources were not using antibiotics illegal in U.S. food, and the company assures the public that all products with a best by date after January 28, 2015 do not contain illicit antibiotics. Every batch of Dogswell product is tested for melamine, bacteria and other contaminants previously associated with dangerous Chinese imports.
"The company has offered no comment on why they did not use their upgraded procedures to test products already put on the market or why they waited until getting caught by the NYSDAM to issue a recall." (see entire comment by Healingn Springs on their Facebook page link here)

Saturday Smirk


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

Friday, July 26, 2013

BREAKING: Cat Allergy Source FOUND!

Allergists and researchers have known for a long time that a protein in cat saliva known as Fel d 1 has been responsible for countless itchy and swollen eyes, sneezing fits, even asthma attacks. But no one has really understood why -- until now.

photo: Wikimedia Commons
Research done by scientists at Cambridge University's School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that it's not really the cat protein that is the culprit. Rather, it's an environmental bacterial toxin called lipopolysaccharide, or LPS.

The university calls LPS "ubiquitous" because it's found simply everywhere. It's in Listeria bacteria (which causes food poisoning), it's been implicated in the failure of implants in arthritis sufferers, and is suspected as one of the causes of chronic airway infections in people with cystic fibrosis. It's even been linked to septic shock. I could go on but you get the idea - this little bug gets around!

And now it's been ID'ed as the cause behind why some people are so deathly allergic to cats.

Evidently small amounts of LPS have been found as contaminants in cat saliva. When LPS binds with the protein Fel d 1 in cat saliva, it can cause an inordinately strong inflammatory response in a human. And when LPS is absent, the allergic response is much diminished.

photo: Wikimedia Commons
As a volunteer in a cat shelter, I've found the occasional cat that elicits a strong allergic response in me - and I've always wondered what  was different about that specific cat. Why would this cat cause itching and swelling when exposure to every other cat induces nothing of the sort?

Now I wonder if those cats might not have had greater amounts of LPS present...?

We all know that identification is the first step in finding a solution. But the news gets even better. The researchers also discovered that the part of our immune system that reacts to LPS is a pathogen recognition receptor called TLR4.

And it just so happens there is a drug already formulated to block TLR4 response. So they tested it on cat saliva contaminated by LPS.

Success! The TLR4 inhibitor blocked the body's immune response to the cat dander/LPS combo.

Dr Clare Bryant, lead author of the research from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, said: “As drugs have already been developed to inhibit the receptor TLR4, we are hopeful that our research will lead to new and improved treatments for cat allergy sufferers.”

And since they've also discovered the same LPS contamination in the dog equivalent (a protein called Can f 6, found in dog dander), researchers believe that dog-allergy sufferers could also benefit from new drugs which inhibit TLR4.

Fabulous news for a Friday!

Maxwell: "I promise, I'm LPS-free, Momma!"

World's Best Litter Review & Giveaway

We like World's Best Cat Litter for three reasons:

First, it's not clay. Clumping clay litter often contains sodium bentonite - which itself is a form of clay, and there are concerns that it can be a contributing factor in gastrointestinal blockage in cats. Kittens are particularly vulnerable to sodium bentonite toxicosis, and many shelters (including ours) instruct foster families to avoid clay litters for that reason.

Second, it's not clay! Clay litter also contains silica dust, which can cause respiratory problems if inhaled.

Third, it's biodegradable and made of 100% natural, plant based materials. This also means it's eco-friendly, since clay litter use promotes clay strip mining.

Recently we were asked to review their newest litter formulation, the Advanced Natural Series. World's Best very kindly sent us a free bag to test out, and here are our findings:

According to the press release, this is a new advanced formula specially made for "high performance clumping."

We were happy to hear that this new formula still retained its all-natural, plant based ingredients.

But I was worried that this new version was not going to be flushable, and I immediately noticed there was no mention of that in the press release for this new formula.

So I wrote and asked about it.

Here's what they said: "Consumers have been flushing our product for years and we are not aware of any issues that it has caused. But due to changing laws, we are in the process of getting the needed testing to make this claim on bags or our website in the future."

I'm happy to hear they're actively pursuing the testing so they can actually promote this on their bags. Personally, I think this would be a huge win for them - it's certainly the reason I use their brand.

My understanding is that currently, your city or township's sewage treatment plants may have local policies that allow for flushing plant-based materials and you should check with them before flushing. Or if you live out in the country and have a septic tank, you'll need to follow the guidelines laid out by the septic manufacturer on what's flushable and what isn't.

So is it really better at clumping?

I hate dust in the litter area, which is one of the many reasons I refuse to use clay-based litter products. So I wondered how this new bag would stack up against their existing, almost dust-free Multiple Cat formula. I was happy to see that the litter looked as coarse as Multiple Cat. So far, so good!
Advanced Natural formula on left, Multiple Cat on right
I filled two of our 4 litter boxes from our standard Multiple Cat bag, then used the other two to test the new Advanced Formula bag. After a week of testing? Their press release wasn't kidding. It does seem to clump slightly better. And it does as good a job at odor control as the Multiple Cat.  I'm very happy with this product.

Giveaway Time!

Anyone want to test drive a free bag? World's Best is offering one free bag of their Advanced Natural Series to our readers - U.S. only. (please see rules & disclaimer below)

All you need to do is tell us you're interested in entering the giveaway, and indicate which scent you prefer, if your name is chosen. You can select either Original Scent - which we found to have a pleasantly mild, slightly nutty smell - or the Pine Blend.

Good luck! A winner will be chosen by and announced next Friday, August 2.

Rules and Disclaimer
No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Winners are chosen using and will be notified by e-mail. The winner of the giveaway will need to give us a physical address (no P.O. boxes please) to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. 

If a reply email containing the physical address where the prize should be mailed is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen again by random. The winner will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.

We were given a bag of litter by World's Best to review, but were not compensated for hosting the giveaway. All opinions in this article are our own.


EDIT: Thanks to Connie of Tails from the Foster Kittens who caught a few typos and helped me realize I hadn't included all my source links.  It's bentonite toxicosis, (not toxosis) and it was written up in the journal Veterinary and Human Toxicology in 1997 (abstract can be found here).

It's also important to distinguish between sodium bentonite and calclium bentonite.

Sodium Bentonite is used in oil drilling, clumping cat litter and as a bonding agent in cosmetics and medicines, and even some livestock feeds. It's currently being investigated as a way food producers can ensure E. Coli bacteria removal prior to delivering produce to market. It's also used in the filtration of protein sediment in beer and wine.

The danger of toxicity appears to be in free quartz particles, which can present an inhalation hazard. And according to, this particular type of bentonite often has an exaggerated caustic Ph value.

The danger of intestinal blockage is also much higher in sodium bentonite than in other forms of the clay. Depending on the amount of montmorillonite (a mineral) found in its composition, sodium bentonite has the ability to expand to up to 20 times its volume in the presence of water.

Thanks to Connie, we have a story that links clumping cat litter (containing sodium bentonite, not calcium bentonite) to the death of a basset hound who ingested it.

Calcium Bentonite, on the other hand, has been used medicinally for centuries by humans all over the world to detoxify. A simple google search will reveal a ton of products on the market for both internal and external cleansing and purifying of the body - everything from a colon cleanse to an herbal whole body supplement to detoxifying soaps and baths.

The important thing to know about Calcium Bentonite is how it differs from Sodium Bentonite. Many of the products you find when googling assure you that their calcium bentonite product is a way for you to "alkalize safely" (a reference to the caustic Ph value of sodium bentonite).

And research in 2007 by Arizona State University even indicated that calcium bentonite clay might have antibacterial properties!

Sadly, it's not calcium bentonite that is in our litters. 

One last thing to note: the FDA does not distinguish between Sodium and Calcium Bentonite, and classifies it as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) only under the following conditions:
"to assist in the clarification of juices, beverages, and other food products, as a binding agent for the preparation of pelleted animal feeds, and as an ingredient of coatings and adhesives for food packaging materials."
Sources on sodium bentonite: 

Sources on calcium bentonite:,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=85154c461bfcc325&biw=1551&bih=918&bvm=pv.xjs.s.en_US.MpiVkF51mpA.O

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thursday Trivia: The Catbird Seat

The phrase "sitting in the catbird seat" is one that dates back to the 1940's and seems to have originated from the southern United States.

It is said that someone who sits in the catbird seat holds a position of power and advantage. Random House's Word Maven claims it's not only southern but also dates back to the 19th century, thoguh officially listed as "origin unknown".

It's earliest known published reference is in a short story written by James Thurber in 1942, where one of his characters mentions having heard the phrase at a baseball game:

Red Barber, public domain
"In the halls, in the elevator, even in his own office, into which she romped now and then like a circus horse, she was constantly shouting these silly questions at him.

“Are you lifting the oxcart out of the ditch? Are you tearing up the pea patch? Are you hollering down the rain barrel? Are you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel? Are you sitting in the catbird seat?”

It was Joey Hart, one of Mr. Martin’s two assistants, who had explained what the gibberish meant. “She must be a Dodger fan,” he had said. “Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions — picked ’em up down South.”

- from Catbird Seat by James Thurber, The New Yorker, November 14, 1942

Red Barber was a real person - the announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers' baseball team. And he really did use that phrase.

He told the Saturday Review in a 1958 interview that he'd first heard it in a poker game in Cincinatti, liked it, and decided to use it in his radio broadcasts.

Photo: cuatrok77 via Wikimedia Commons
Interestingly, there really is a bird known as the catbird. And ornithologists tell us that this bird, a member of the mockingbird family, may have come about its name because of its odd call, which sounds almost like a cat mewing.

 As to why the phrase has come to mean someone who holds a position of advantage, World Wide Words tells us it's because of the tendency for the catbird to prefer the highest perch it can find to roost.

That preference for high vantage points - the catbird seat - was considered to be a position of strength, strategically speaking.

(Of course in baseball terms today, we'd call that the nosebleed section...!)

Our personal favorite catbird, however, is the Rutan Catbird - a high efficiency plane that set two world speed records, and as of May 2012, they still held!

A Rutan Model 81 CatBird
Photo: Jim Reid, Creative Commons

World Wide Words
Random House's Word Maven

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

'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, July 22, 2013

Monday Medical: Summer Pet Safety Part 2

Last week we talked about the dangers that summer storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes can present to our pets.

This week's Medical Monday is about the dangers lurking on a sunny day - namely the everyday things you might not think about that can harm both cats and dogs.

Although this infographic calls out dogs, cats can actually be in more danger from some of these than dogs. For instance, the common ingredient in many fertilizers is permethrin, the same ingredient in dog flea collars.

And while excessive exposure to this can indeed cause vomiting in your dog, it can be absolutely deadly for your cat. This nerve toxin is a killer - which is why it's imperative that you never, ever put a dog flea collar on a cat!

6 Common Summer Dangers

Both dogs and cats are attracted to coolant, and it takes far less to kill a cat, or a small dog, than it would a dog with a large body mass.

And heartworms?  Stay tuned for a special 2-part interview with Dr. Sara Huber on the very critical issue of heartworms in cats, on next week's Medical Monday.

We thank Petfinder for these great Infographics. Personally, we think these would make great posters for shelters, as well as library and pet store bulletin boards. Next time you're out shopping, why not suggest these?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Upper Paw

Maxwell has the upper paw since he's on the stairs, looking down on Faraday.
Or so he thinks.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday PhotoHunt: Really?

"REALLY? You woke me ... for this?"


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

Friday, July 19, 2013

"I bagged a BIRTHDAY!"

Mommy, are you trying to tell me something with the BLACK BAG...?

(I'm ONLY three...!)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Trivia: the Bee's Knees

Well, you learn something new every day. Who knew that bees carry pollen back to the hive on their legs?

Bees have knees - who knew? (photo: Sanchez, creative commons 3.0)

Not that this is where the phrase "the bee's knees" came from or anything. Nope.

The website tells us it was just a nonsense phrase initially used in the 1900's to refer to something nonsensical. Like a snipe hunt. Or a sky hook. Or striped paint.

Dancing the Charleston
(public domain)
They cite the example of a New Zealand newspaper, The West Coast Times, which published a humorous 'report' on the cargo carried by the ship SS Zeelandia which included "seven cases of bee's knees."

The same usage crops up in other places as well, such as
newspaper cartoons (Fort Wayne Sentinel, May 5, 1914)
and writer Zane Grey's 1909 short story, The Shortstop.

When it became fashionable in the 1920's to use nonsense phrases as a way to express that something was pretty cool, "bee's knees" found its way back into popular culture.


It could possibly be thanks to dancer Bee Jackson, the woman credited with introducing the Charleston to Broadway in 1924!

Sources: Oxford Dictionary

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'Toon Tuesdays

(MOWZERS! We think even Mommy could do this one!)


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, July 15, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Cat suffers swelled head, Allie throws fit

You heard it hear first, folks.

Maxwell reports Faraday's walking around the house all puffed up with pride.
Why, you may ask? According to early reports, Allie's very own Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs, has named one of their recent acquisitions after ...

That's right, you guessed it, folks. Meet Faraday the Second (also known as "Faraday, Too").

Allie's apoplectic.

(We're all wishing the newest Faraday a wonderful forever home of his own, real soon!)

Monday Medical: Summer Pet Safety Part 1

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, issued their 2013 forecast for hurricane season in the northern hemisphere - and it's an active one. They're predicting up to 20 storms deserving of a name, up to 11 of which will develop into actual hurricanes.

The scary news is they predict 3-6 of these hurricanes will be what they label "major" - a Catergory 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. This prediction is above the norm for this year.

And although last month's Tropical Storm Andrea thankfully didn't claim any lives (that we heard of) it did spawn ten associated tornadoes and dump over a foot of rain in some spots. So even tropical storms are worth having an evacuation plan!

That's why we thought the Petfinder's Summer Infographic series was worth passing along to you.
We especially like the subtitle of this one:


We also feel this reinforces last Monday's post about the importance of microchipping. You cannot predict when tragedy might strike, and microchip databases are fantastic places to input important veterinary and medical information, too.


Personally, we think these would make great posters for shelters, as well as library and pet store bulletin boards along the coasts and in places most commonly in the path of hurricanes. If you are in such a location, why not suggest these?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Censure

Mowzers, Mommy, you're in trouble now!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Caturday PhotoHunt: Flamboyant

Allie's taste in neckwear can verge on the flamboyant:
"noticeable because of brightly colored or unusual style" (Webster's)


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

Friday, July 12, 2013

Flirty Friday - and a WINNER!

Maxie's best Joey Tribbiani: "How you doin'?"
And in case you're not familiar with the reference, perhaps this will help:

We have a winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered last Friday's giveaway for The Honest Kitchen's Quiet Tea.
We used to select the winner, and that would be:

Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, 
Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo - 
the kitties at The Cat On My Head. Concatulations!

And we promised to report back on how Quiet Tea worked for both Sushi and Yaz.

Sushi seems to like it (which his owner thinks is a great bonus) and he does seem to positively respond to it. All the forecasted storms seemed to fade away this week, so we have only had the 4th of July experience as a test. But it yielded positive results, with a much calmer Sushi than they feared they would have on their hands that evening. For a pup who panics easily, this is great news!

Yaz, on the other hand, is one tightly wound doggy. And fireworks simply scare him to death. To help take the edge off, his owner served him Quiet Tea three times that day. Yet the fireworks so terrorized him that he had to be wrapped in his thundershirt and held in his mom's lap, just to keep him from jumping out of his skin.

Bottom line, your mileage may vary based on how excitable your pet is in stressful situations. But since Quiet Tea is made of the same great ingredients that people have been recommending for years to help humans lower their stress levels, we feel pretty sure that it can help many a pet.

So, Kitties Blue, please report back to us and tell us how it works for you. And congratulations again on winning!


Many thanks again to The Honest Kitchen for graciously offering readers this opportunity. We were not compensated in any way for this post, other than the free sample of Quiet Tea that we were given. We passed it on to friends who evaluated it for us and reported back, as you see in the post above.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday Trivia: When the Cat's Away

"When the cat's away, the mice will play."

In other words, when the boss isn’t around, the workers will play hooky!

Now there's a concept a cat would have a hard time understanding. No cat ever altered his behavior around a supervisor, that's for sure!

So where does this phrase originate?

Mouse, meet cat!

In the book, “Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words,” author Wolfgang Mieder states the phrase can be traced back to medieval Latin – Dum felis dormit, mus gaudet et exsi litantro, 'When the cat falls asleep, the mouse rejoices and leaps from the hole'.

From there, it was translated into the vernacular language of most European countries. Its earliest written form dates back to the early 14th century with this French iteration: Ou chat na rat regne, 'Where there is no cat, the rat is king'.

But its most famous historical usage is by the Bard himself, in the play Henry the Fifth:

Westmoreland, speaking with King Henry V, 
Gloucester, Bedford, Exeter and Warwick

"But there's a saying very old and true,
'If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin:'

For once the eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
Comes sneaking and so sucks her princely eggs,
Playing the mouse in absence of the cat,
To tear and havoc more than she can eat. "

What we found most fun about this particular phrase was to see how its exact translation varies from country to country:

French: Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent.
(word for word: When the cat isn't there, the mice dance)

Finnish: Kun kissa on poissa, hiiret hyppivät pöydällä
(When the cat is away, the mice are jumping on the table)

Russian: Без кота мышам раздолье. [bez kata mysham razdolje]
(Without a cat there is freedom/spaciousness for mice)

Portuguese: quando o gato sai, os ratos fazem a festa
(literally, when the cat goes out, the mice/rats make a party

Turkish:  Kedi olmayınca fareler cirit atar
(literally, when the cat doesn't exist, the mice throw javelins)

We like the Turkish version best, how about you?

Allie: "I never met a mouse I didn't like." (of course, pink ones are even better!)

No matter what language you use, one thing is abundantly clear.
Without the cat, chaos reigns!


“Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words,” Wolfgang Mieder, Jul 23, 2008, page 125.
Word Reference Forums

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We present: Pussycat Privations


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

'Toon Tuesdays

Ah the joys of pet ownership. Pooper scoopers and litterboxes!


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, July 8, 2013

Still too cool for paws? No!

We've enjoyed a very wet and mild spring so far, and our summer's not been too bad, either. Because of that, it becomes easy to forget how quickly paved surfaces can become hot. It happens far more rapidly than you may realize.

We researched this through the US National Library of Medicine, and found three studies at the National Institutes of Health that prompted us to create this graphic. Please feel free to share this - if it saves even one dog from injury, it's worth it!
Please click the infographic to see a larger version.

35 seconds - thirty five! - and you have a second degree burn. 
And while a wooden deck may not be a 'perfect black body' like asphalt is, (the scientific term for a surface that absorbs heat most efficiently) even wood can be too hot for the paws of a dog or cat to handle. So when our cats go walkabout in their harnesses on a hot summer day, I'm careful to set them down in shady spots, or in the grass. 
When in doubt, invoke the 7 Second Rule: if the back of your hand can't take the heat, your pet's paws can't either.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sweet Sunday

"I'm a great listener. What's on your mind?"


Saturday, July 6, 2013

To lap or not to lap, that is the question.

Today's PhotoHunt is GO. Faraday wants to know "WIIFM?" --  before he goes up on mommy's lap!

You can see more great Photo Hunters posts HERE.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fraidy Cats, Panicked Pups & a Giveaway

The sample we were given
Last night, in many neighborhoods across the United States, the sky was ablaze with fireworks as people everywhere celebrated the 4th of July.

And while holidays like this never seem to phase our mellow Maxwell (probably because he can't hear!), Faraday chose to enjoy the festivities from a safe vantage under the bed.

We'd imagine a lot of family pets have trouble with loud and frightening noise-makers like that. (Is it any wonder that this time of year shows a marked increase in lost animals?)

So when The Honest Kitchen offered us a sample of their calming tea for dogs & cats, we were interested.

It's called Quiet Tea, and it's formulated for use in stressful situations like thunderstorms and noisy neighborhood fireworks.

And although Faraday most definitely qualifies as a fraidy cat, we happen to have a few friends whose pets suffer some serious anxiety issues. So we asked if they would mind test-driving this tea for us to see how it worked.

First up is Sushi, a Shiba Inu owned by blogger Tails & Wails. Sushi has a horrible time with fearfulness, and this spring's stormy weather has been a rough one.

Harvey's woofie brother, Yaz
Next, meet Yaz. This adorable mutt is new to Harvey & Evelyn's home this year, and you can follow his exploits over at Sebastian the Sensitive Soul.

Yaz and Sushi both have thundershirts that they wear to help calm them during stressful times, but that alone doesn't always do the trick.  Yaz has been known to go into a frenzy during a storm, tearing into fences as well as the occasional doorway in his panicked state.

Speaking of which, did any of you see the photo of that doorway in question that Amy posted after one recent thunderstorm? Poor Yaz - that was one frightened pup, for sure!

Thunderstorm Aftermath!
These two dogs are perfect candidates to try out Quiet Tea and so we dropped some off for both families earlier this week so they could test it out on both Sushi and Yaz during the 4th of July - and the forecasted thunderstorms later this week.

Initial results are promising: Sushi's mom emailed yesterday to say, "Sushi likes it, which is a bonus!" She told us that one of their neighbors was shooting off fireworks, and that she & her husband thought Sushi did seem to be more relaxed. The true test will be during a storm, though! As there are a few predicted in our area in the next week, we'll share their opinion on how it worked next Friday.

Quiet Tea is prepared much like a regular drinking tea. Its ingredients include many familiar herbs used as calming agents for humans as well: Oatstraw, chamomile, passionflower, skullcap and valerian root.

It comes as a loose-leaf jar with guidelines on how much loose tea to steep in hot water based on your pet's weight.  After steeping for 5-10 minutes, you strain it and mix it in with food twice a day. It's only intended for supplemental use as needed, not every day.

Giveaway time!

If this sounds like something that might be helpful to your pet, here's some great news:
The Honest Kitchen is giving away one canister of Quiet Tea to one of our readers.

All you need to do is comment below, telling us you'd like to be included in the drawing (along with your email address so we can contact you if your name is chosen). Then next Friday we'll use to select the winner!

Everyone in the U.S. is eligible, except for New Mexico, Texas or South Dakota due to state regulations.

Many thanks to The Honest Kitchen for graciously offering readers this opportunity. We were not compensated in any way for this post, other than the free sample we were given.