Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday PhotoHunt: Model

...did you expect anything else...? 

Our glam girl does know how to strike a pose. Move over, Madonna.


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

Friday, August 30, 2013

BREAKING: Purina One Salmonella Recall - Dry Dog Food

According to Purina, the "best by date" of the recalled lots due to salmonella contamination is October, 2014. Here is Purina's news release:

Nestlé Purina PetCare

North America
ST. LOUIS, MO 63164-0001, USA
TEL. 314 982 1000
FAX. 314 982 2752
Consumer Contact:  Nestlé Purina PetCare Office of Consumer Affairs:  1-800-473-8546
Media Contact:  Keith Schopp – 314-982-2577

St. Louis, Missouri, August 30, 2013 . . . Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) is voluntarily
recalling a limited number of 3.5-pound bags of its Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat
Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food from a single production run and
shipped to retail customers in the United States.
This is being done because one bag of the product was found to be contaminated
with Salmonella
Only Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
with both the “Best By” date and the production code shown below are included in this
voluntary recall:

Bag Size         "Best By" Date & Production Code*           UPC Code 

3.5 lb.                           31071083                                 17800 12679
*"Best By" Date and Production Code are found on the back or bottom of the bag.

No additional Purina or Purina ONE dog or cat products are involved in this voluntary recall
at this time. No salmonella-related illness has been reported to date in association with
this product.
Consumers who have purchased Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley
Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food products with the specific “Best By” Date and Production Code
should discontinue feeding the product and discard it.
Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from
handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated dry pet food can become
infected withSalmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after
having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with
Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting,
diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely,Salmonella can result in more serious
ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation
and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with
this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.
If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and
vomiting.  Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or
If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact
your veterinarian.
At Nestlé Purina PetCare, the safety and efficacy of our products are our top priority.
We apologize for any inconvenience due to this voluntary recall.  For further information
or to obtain a product refund, please call NPPC toll-free at 1-800-473-8546, 24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
# # # #

And here is the information on the FDA's Recall page. Click the image below to be redirected to their page to read more about it. Scroll down until you see the table pictured below, then click on the details icon on the right.


Fun Find: DIY Chic Suitcase Cat Bed

If you have a fun find you'd like to share, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us link in the right sidebar.


This is so cool, we're going to have to send mom out to a few secondhand stores to see what she can find in the way of retro suitcases!

Designed by Stephanie at Brooklyn Limestone, she offers step by step instructions - with photos at her blog here. We're so glad she shared this on Pinterest. Click over and give her post a look. The in-progress photos are fab - as well as her dismay that a certain kitty refused to use the chic reversible pillow she'd made for it, preferring for her to place one of her expensive cardigans inside (black please) instead.  (We three kittehs totally get that, BTW.)

It's a fun project for very little money, if you have the time. We especially love what she did on the inside of the lid!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Trivia: Dog Days of Summer

You guys probably know all about where this saying came from. Most of us have at least a general idea.  But we're hoping that we've dug up some interesting tidbits about its origin that might be new to you!

Yes, the phrase is linked to the brightest star in the night sky during summertime in the Northern Hemisphere: Sirius, the Dog Star. It's called the Dog Star because it's the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which is Latin for 'Large Dog'.

It also happens to be the brightest star visible from Earth (if you discount our own sun, of course).

Sirius the Dog Star, to the left of the constellation Orion
photo courtesy nevets183, flickr Creative Commons 3.0

The Romans are usually credited with being the originators of the phrase “Dog Days” but the phrase was actually used by the Greeks prior to the time of Rome, and can be found in one of Aristotle's many works – Aristotle's Physics.

It was believed that Sirius added to the heat coming from our own sun and was responsible for the brutally hot days in July and August.

But if you want to find the first time the star and the dog are linked together, you have to travel an even greater distance back in time: try Egypt, circa 3,000 B.C.E.!

Egyptian hieroglyphs are the first known association of the star as a dog, though its reason has been lost in antiquity.

The one thing we do know is that, back in 3,000 BCE, the rising of Sirius in the morning sky occurred at the same time as sunrise. It also coincided with Egypt's summer solstice, which heralded the beginning of Egypt's new year.

Sirius slowly lost its "synch" with sunrise over the centuries due to a stellar phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes.

Fun in the sun! Photo by peyri, Creative Commons
What we didn't know until we researched this:  the Dog Days were considered to be evil days!

(Does anyone think that might have something to do with "evil" tempers brought on by sweltering temperatures?  Especially considering there wasn't a nice, friendly A/C unit in sight back then?)

A book written in 1813 entitled Clavis Calendaria references the Dog Days as a time when:
“the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”

(oooh, we like the word 'phrensies'! That's Allie's new word to describe her state of mind every time Faraday pounces on her.)

A great way to cool off: a run by the sea
photo by arbyreed, Creative Commons
We also didn't know that the Dog Days were specific to actual calendar dates. Depending on who you asked, it spanned several weeks in July and August.

The Roman calendar had the Dog Days listed as running from July 24 through August 24.

Many modern European cultures still have the month-long period listed on their calendars in the same way.

Dog Days even made it into the Old Farmer's Almanac.

It lists the Dog Days from July 3rd to August 11th - a period of 40 days which coincides both with the ancient heliacal (or sunrise) rising of the star Sirius, and the days with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere.

Etymology Online
The Weather Channel

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'Toon Tuesday: Sleeping with Dogs

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, August 26, 2013

Update on S. 959 and Vet Compounding

Back in July we wrote about a proposal coming before the U.S. Senate that, if passed, threatened to ban pharmacies from compounding medications prescribed by veterinarians to treat dogs, cats, and horses.

We examined why this would be so detrimental to family pets, and Dr. Sara Huber explained how
compounding medications might sometimes be the only way a veterinarian can accurately dose small breeds, puppies and kittens.

(click here to read more)

Now we'd like to update you on the status of that legislation, and if it still poses a threat to the medical care of our family pets.

snapshot of Amy's letter from Senator Roberts
A fellow blogger - Amy of Sebastian the Sensitive Soul -  has a pharmaceutical background and was particularly concerned about this.

So she decided to write her senator and let him know she opposed anything that would ban veterinarians from offering compounded medicines to family pets.

Senator Pat Roberts wrote her back and assured her that he has long been an advocate for local
pharmacies and referenced a "significant amount of misinformation" that was circulating about the proposed legislation.

Here is a direct quote from his response to her (used with permission):

"S. 959 makes a clear distinction between traditional compounding—which will continue to be regulated primarily by state pharmacy boards—and compounding manufacturers that make sterile products without, or in advance of, a prescription and sell those products across state lines. The compounding manufacturers would be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This legislation clarifies a national, uniform set of rules for compounding manufacturers while preserving the states’ primary role in traditional pharmacy regulation." (emphasis mine)

Hey, that all sounds pretty good to me. It is ethical and moral to ensure the safety of compounded medications, especially after the 2012 meningitis scare where tainted pharmaceuticals from a compounding manufacturer in Framingham, MA resulted in illness to over 700 people

But please note what he did not mention. Not once did he address her concerns with regard to animals and veterinarian-prescribed medications. I wanted to know why, so I dug deeper. 

So, are animals addressed 
in this legislation or not?

After hours of poring over the actual wording of the legislation itself, including strikethroughs from previous iterations of the proposed bill, I've found out a few things:

One: on May 22 this legislation, known as S. 959, was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. It currently awaits consideration on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Two: anyone who is brave enough, has the time, or is suffering from insomnia can read the progress of this proposed bill for themselves, online at a website called It includes previous wording as well as the final wording the HELP Committee passed on to the Senate floor.

Three: oh yes, animals are mentioned quite a bit in the wording of this bill, 41 times in fact. And it's interesting to note that they're almost exclusively in the parts of the proposed legislation that have been deleted.

Will pharmacies like this one continue to have the freedom
to compound prescriptions for our pets?
The organization that brought this to our attention, My Meds Matter, expressed a concern that big drug
companies were trying to add an unrelated amendment to this bill that would forbid veterinarians from writing compound prescriptions for family pets.

They urged people to write their congressmen and ask that these provisions be removed from S. 959.

I'd count this a win - it appears they were successful.

I have signed up to follow the progress of this legislation via email updates from the Gov Track web site. It will be interesting to see how the wording changes once it passes from the Senate to the House of representatives.

Currently, 39 of the 41 references to animals have been removed from the proposed legislation.
Here are the two that are left:

Reference #1:
In the definitions section of the bill, a "DISPENSER" is defined as a retail pharmacy, etc, etc... and "does not include a person who dispenses only products to be used in animals."

In most cities, this exclusion is meaningless, as most veterinarians use human compounding pharmacies to fill their prescriptions.

Reference #2:
"Not later than November 1, 2016, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study and submit to Congress a report on the safety of animal drug compounding and the availability of safe and effective drugs for animals." [S. 959, section 102 (d)]

This second one is worth keeping an eye on, for if it's true that big pharma is trying to eliminate a veterinarian's ability to compound drugs for family pets, here might be their next opportunity to try to restrict that.  

Whew! This was one of our more difficult posts to wade through, both from a writing and reading standpoint, we know!

Thanks for hanging with us because, although it's not exactly a fun blog post, we think it's an important one.

(We promise to balance it out with a terrific 'Toon Tuesday tomorrow, and an awesome Wordless Wednesday!)

gratuitous shot of Maxwell and his baby blues

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Face|Off

Mmm-m-m-m, Neko Flier Toy!

"Sorry Allie, but sometimes a mancat just has to grab the prey for himself."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Photohunt: Humble

Technically, we think Allie looks more pious than anything, but it's the closest we could come.


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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fun Find: Copper Pet Photo Albums

If you have a fun find you'd like to share, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us link in the right sidebar.


These handmade copper pet photo albums might be a bit pricey but they're gorgeous. Each one stores up to 24 4x6 photos.

Each photo album is handmade in San Francisco by artisan Cam Wilson. You can purchase them at Uncommon Goods for $56 each.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Infographic: BlogPaws Celebrates Senior Pets

Blogpaws has announced that August is Senior Pet Celebration Month.
We think that's a wonderful idea!

We can't tell you how many worthy cats cross the threshold of our shelter that are considered "senior" simply because they're over a certain age. We certainly don't consider them to be less adoptable - yet all too often that's exactly how potential adopters view them.

Take a look at the stats in this infographic and pass it along to anyone you know who is considering adopting a pet. Take special note of the statistic about the percentage of a pet's life span considered to be "geriatric."

We hope this is eye-opening for many!

Many thanks to BlogPaws for this infographic.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

VERY Wordless Wednesday

The look says it all.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'Toon Tuesday: Pawparazzi


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, August 19, 2013

Infographic: The True Cost of Pets

Not long after we scheduled last Monday's post withe the great dog cost calculator "app," we were approached by Help U Cover, a British company that specializes in insurance policies that "fills the gaps other insurance leaves behind". They have created a more comprehensive pet cost estimator we felt was worth sharing.

And for those of you wondering how the British pound converts to other currencies ...
As of a few days ago, it looked like this:

1 British Pound Sterling =  1.55 US Dollars  = 1.68 Australian Dollars = 1.16 Euros

Thanks to Help U Cover for this infographic.
'The true cost of Pets' by helpucover

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Reflections


Saturday, August 17, 2013

No, we have nothing swanky to show you

And we're happy to point out it's all Mommy's fault, too.

Black Cat Appreciation Day

My name is Maxwell, and I am a black cat.

I know it doesn't look like it, but at my genetic core, I am.
I'm a black cat with a dilute gene that makes the fur on my face and paws look grey.

And I'm a black cat with a temperature-sensitive albino gene, which is why I look cream where my body heat is over a certain temperature. That's because the albino gene blocks the color - but only where I'm warm (you can read all about it in our post "da boyz are albinos!" from last year).

But underneath it all, I'm a black cat.

My name is Allie, and I am a black cat.

Yes, I have a gorgeous coat of grey fur - but it's due to the same dilute gene that Maxwell has.  It lightens my black fur.

And the white on my face and paws is only there because the black is covered by a masking gene. It's called the Spotting gene, and it gives me that striking tuxedo pattern.

But at heart, this glam girl is a black kitty.

Meet Spider, a 1 year old girl waiting for
her very own forever family at Wayside Waifs

So we're expecting a bit of appreciation from our humans today: you see, it's  
Black Cat Appreciation Day.

This day was created because a disproportionate number of black cats go homeless and are euthanized in shelters across the U.S.  In fact, statistics show this occurs five times more frequently than any other color of cat!

And we'll bet you may not have known these cats are genetically well suited for pet ownership - and reputed to be far more congenial than cats of another color!

Sadly, superstition has a lot to do with these statistics. Black cats simply cannot seem to shake the stigma of being "bad luck." It's something they've been unfairly saddled with for too long.

So we're raising our voices 
to help bust this myth today.

Heidi, looking anxiously to see if the family who
just walked in might be the one for her at Wayside.
We'd like to share something with you that Dr. Temple Grandin wrote in her book Animals Make Us Human.

(In case you're unfamiliar with her work, Dr. Grandin has a Ph.D. in animal science and is a well respected consultant on animal behavior.)

According to Dr. Grandin, "black cats are friendlier than other cats, are better able to deal with crowding and urban life, and have greater aggregative tendencies".

(That's aggregative - not aggressive - which basically means they’re more inclined to live in groups of cats.)

She goes on to state that "black cats are more social overall, whether it’s with other cats or with humans."

Elegant Moon, a 3 year old girl
awaiting her heart match
But wait! These gorgeous house panthers have even more going for them!

Dr. Grandin quotes Stephen J. O’Brien (of the Feline genome Project) who believes the mutation that causes black fur might also make cats resistant to viruses in the HIV family.

So black cats are also healthier in some respects than other cats.

(- excerpted from Dr. Grandin's book,
Animals Make Us Human
, pp. 77-78

Right now there are almost 2 dozen black cats waiting for adoption at Allie's Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs.

And most of these little guys are kittens.

Take a look at these adorable faces, squee just a tiny bit, and stand with us today in busting the myths about black cats and in supporting their adoption!

Black cats make fantastic pets! Why, in Asia and the U.K., a black cat is generally considered lucky!

Temple Grandin's web site
7 Facts about Black Cats
Google Books: Animals Make Us Human

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chewy Review: Wellness Turkey & Salmon Jerky Treats

AKA The Best Treats. EVER.
Just meowing.

Allow me to explain. Upon its arrival, I saw immediately that it was my journalistic responsibility to personally take the investigation of these treats firmly under paw and handle the taste testing myself.


All in the name of journalistic integrity, mind you.

"Me & my Wellness Jerky Treats." - Faraday

(Will someone please help Allie, she sounds like she's choking. But I digress.)

Step one: Mark the bag as mine. MINE.

Step two: Until the Opposable Thumb Kit arrives, (I won't go into the sad state of the USPS at this time, but suffice it to say I am Still Without) I required the help of my somewhat capable assistant - sometimes known as 'Mommy' - to open the bag.

She insisted on a cuddle first. Seriouslies?!?!

Step three: Sampling time.

Step four: Additional taste tests are required for serious consideration.

Step five: FIRE assistant. One treat does not an adequate sample make!

CONCLUSON:  These treats totally Rock the Casbah.

'Scuse me while I go con persuade Daddy to reopen the bag....

~ Faraday 

Addendum by the mom:

The reason I agreed to review these Wellness treats is because they contain very simple ingredients: Turkey, Salmon, Dried Chicory Root, Cultured Whey, Salt, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative)

There are two ingredients in there you may not be familiar with: Dried Chicory Root, and Cultured Whey. Hopefully the info below will help you decide if it's something you're comfortable feeding to your pet.

According to Dr. Michael Haley of Beyond Organic, cultured whey "is an excellent 'nutrient dense' source of many vitamins and minerals, especially the electrolyte minerals, enzymes, organic acids, probiotics, and lactic acid."

And according to several natural pet websites, Chicory Root - a prebiotic - is believed to aid in healthy digestion in cats.

So basically, Faraday gives it four paws up for flavor and I'm pretty comfortable feeding it to him nutritionally. Win-win!

You can purchase this particular flavor of Wellness Jerky Treats at this link here.

Giveaway Time!

Take a look at the cool stuff you can score in Chewy's August Giveaway! Three winners will receive either a $50 gift certificate to, a $25 gift certificate to, or an August Treat Package from Winners will be chosen by, and the giveaway ends August 31st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, take a look at this fab offer:

*No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. A Tonk's Tail blog is not the host of this giveaway. Winners will be notified by and will not be announced in a separate post on this blog. graciously gave us the bag of treats to review but we were not compensated for writing this post. All opinions are our own.

Dr. Haley on Cultured Whey
Cat's Play website
Web MD

Thursday, August 15, 2013

BREAKING: University Reports Cat DNA Helps Solve Crime

And you thought feline crime-fighters were the stuff of mystery novels, didn't you?
Move over Lillian Jackson Braun, the UK has one-upped you.

photo courtesy Cayambe via Creative Commons 3.0
On Wednesday, the University of Leicester reported that a feline DNA database they created helped convict a murderer.

Dr. Jon Wetton, of the university's Department of Genetics, was approached by the Hampshire Police when they found cat fur at the scene of the crime.

We assume the victim did not have a cat, and so those investigating thought a DNA trace might assist in tying their suspect to the scene of the crime.

After gathering mitochondrial DNA samples from 152 British moggies (both Shorthair and other varieties), the department was able to confirm with a 98% degree of certainty that the fur sample from the suspect's pet cat was a match to the fur found at the scene of the crime*.

This evidence formed an important part of the case the prosecution used to successfully convict David Hilder of manslaughter last week.

*Only 3 out of 152 cat fur samples matched the mitochondrial DNA of the suspect's cat.


University of Leicester's news & events page, August 14

A Guide to Cat Body Language

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Thursday Trivia series for a very important video we three cats think everyone planning to adopt a cat needs to watch!


Recently, Cat's Protection, the UK's leading feline welfare charity, posted a video on how to interpret a cat's body language that we'd like to share with you.

But what's really interesting to us are the statistics they gathered from a survey on cat behavior that prompted the creation of this video.

So enjoy the video below, but then be sure to scroll down to view some of those statistics  - we think some of them may surprise you!

A few surprising stats

In the study that led to the production of this video, Cat's Protection found that fully one-third of people polled thought a cat who rolls onto its back wants its belly rubbed like a dog.
Seasoned cat owners can tell you that's a sure way to earn yourself a seriously scratched hand!

Four in ten people thought a cat with its ears back would benefit from a comforting cuddle. Well, at least they understood that "ears-back" meant frightened! But a cat that's scared needs his space - not a human hug! They also need a place to hide until the fear and stress subside.

Half of cat owners polled did not know that a cat will lick its lips when stressed. One third of them thought it meant the cat was hungry. Not so - often it's the exact opposite. Cats lick they're lips when nauseous, too.

And finally, our favorite (at least in the Darwin Award Cat-egory!).

Drum roll please:
25% of cat owners polled actually thought we kitties intentionally shed our fur to mark territory.

Uhm, no-o-ooo...

But we will admit that stropping your legs when you come home is as much to re-scent you as it is to greet you.

(You have nooo idea how stinky you smell when you get home - all those strange office and shopping scents and all, you know.)

That's enough Kitty Confession for one day. Hope you enjoyed the video!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

'Toon Tuesdays

Uh oh. Something tells us this might not end well....

(Yep, those Shoebox artists are raiding the illustration archives again, MOL!)


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, August 12, 2013

How much does it cost to own a dog?

We're so glad Bill Hennessey made this calculator. He told us the reason why was because...well, we'll let him tell it:

"I am involved in many pet advocacy groups and volunteer at the local animal shelter.

My main reason for creating this was while working at the shelters I found that many of people adopting the dogs had absolutely no idea what was involved with owning a dog and the long term costs of owning one.

It drove me crazy to see so many people bringing the dogs back after a month or two because they claimed they could not afford them or it was too much work. [So now we have this] calculator that configures yearly costs of owning a dog and calculates long term costs involved with owning a dog."

Kudos, Mr. Hennessey. We hope this helps many a potential pet owner get a feel for what they're getting into before they adopt.

(And if you want to view the online, interactive calculator that'll do the math for you, click here.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Sweetness

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Photohunt: Blue

"here you go, Ladies. You ready for it?"

"Baby Blues, set on Stun!"


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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fun Find: Outdoor Cat Condo

If you have a fun find you'd like to share, send us a shout-out by clicking on the Contact Us link in the right sidebar.

We agree with pinner Jamie Anderson: We want! This would look great in our Catio.
Oh wait. We don't have a Catio. Yet.


And now, the winner of the
Kodak Kiosk CVS Gift Card Giveaway:

Rafflecopter has spoken, and the winner is a new friend, who found us through Facebook. Please say hello to Livivua C. Chandler  - and congratulate her for winning!