Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Medical: Bobcat Fever is on the rise

There are many things Midwesterners are proud to claim, but sadly Bobcat Fever isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, here is where it originated: the first case of Cytauxzoonosis Felis, or Bobcat Fever, was documented in Missouri in 1976.

Though it remained local to the region for many years, Bobcat Fever has recently found its way into the Mid-Atlantic States and as far north as Pennsylvania.

What is Bobcat Fever? 

Malaria protozoa. Image: PLOS
, Creative Commons 2.5
Ironically enough, it’s not a virus and it’s not a bacterial infection. It’s a protozoan infection.

Protozoan infections are parasitic diseases like malaria, giardia, lice or trichinosis. Odds are, unless you’ve traveled extensively, you’ve never experienced one of these.

The closest most of us come to a parasitic disease is when we volunteer at an animal shelter and see a kennel card declaring that a litter of kittens is being treated for giardia.

The difference between these parasitic diseases and Bobcat Fever is that the others have relatively low mortality rates. Not so for Bobcat Fever. In fact, until 2011, it was considered 100% fatal in domestic cats.

How is Bobcat Fever transmitted?

Through ticks – specifically the lone star tick. This particular tick transmits the disease from bobcat to domestic cat through its bite. Bobcats weather the disease faily well, then become lifelong hosts, transmitting the parasite to ticks through blood transfer.

Ticks in turn pass the protozoa along when they latch onto a domestic cat.

Often, an infected cat won’t present with symptoms until a week or two after they’ve been infected.

Usually a general lethargy, loss of appetite and fever are the three main indicators.


Having a vet available who is equipped to handle Bobcat Fever is critical to a cat’s care. Every cat will need to have fluids administered, and possibly a blood transfusion as well. Nutrition is key to boosting the immune system and helping the cat fight the parasite attacking his body.

There may be complications that can spring up, and these may be every bit as dangerous as the Bobcat Fever itself.

Take loss of appetite as one example: a cat who is off his food for more than a day or so is in jeopardy of Hepadic Lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.

This can prove fatal to an otherwise healthy cat (just read Leo’s story to see how difficult this condition is to beat). But if the cat is already in a weakened state from Bobcat Fever, and it’s compounded by Fatty Liver Disease? You see where I’m going with this.

Thanks to the Veterinary School at the University of Missouri, there is now a course of treatment that improves a cat’s chance of survival to as much as 60%. The treatment involves a combination of antibiotic and antimalarial drugs, along with an anti-protozoal injection.

That’s a huge step in the right direction, but there are plenty of opportunities for treatment to fail. Often it’s because the owner has noticed and responded to symptoms too late for the animal to recover, even with this new treatment.


Outdoor cats,
Wikimedia Commons
The absolute best way to prevent Bobcat Fever is to keep your cat indoors. There are some approved tick treatments out there for cats, but they haven’t been proven 100% effective in preventing tick bites.

If your cat does go outside and you live in an area where lone star ticks are prevalent, try to keep your grass cut and your bushes trimmed. And check your pet for ticks – even between the paw pads.

Perhaps the very best prevention is to read the heart-wrenching journey of one pet owner to save her newly-acquired kitten’s life. Evergreen found his way into the home of blogger Chrystal at Daily Dose of Dogs/Cats with your Coffee sometime in July, and he was covered in ticks.

She has journaled the rocky and uncertain road to his recovery on her blog, including the heartaches, fears and extraordinary efforts made to help this tiny boy pull through. As of this writing, it looks like he just might be in the 60% who make it.

Everly, as he is called, couldn't help it. She found him as a stray. In fact, Cheryl saved his life by bringing him into her home when she did - for he would certainly have succumbed to the disease on his own and without treatment.

But pet owners who live in areas where bobcats and lone star ticks live have the opportunity to save themselves the heartache by simply keeping their cats indoors - especially from March to September, the months cats are most likely to run into ticks.
Science Daily
Centers for Disease Control
University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine
National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine
Wikipedia and Wikipedia

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Study in Blue


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Oh where oh where...

Allie: Oh where oh where did my lovely summer go?

Thinking globally, it's headed toward the Southern Hemisphere!


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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Natural Pet Company's Catnip

We were contacted recently by a couple of cat guys (yeah, cat GUYS!)

After shopping for toys for their cats they realized a few things: very few toys are made from natural materials, or made in an eco-friendly way that preserves the environment.

And the ones they did find weren't exactly considered "fun" by their own cats. So as a hobby, they decided to try a hand at making their own. Out of this came the Natural Pet Company.

And what's a cat toy without a little nip? They grow their own in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. They asked if they could send us some in exchange for our honest opinion.

Three out of three kitties told them, "Bring it on!" So they did, and it arrived a few days ago:

Their 4 oz. bag vs. our home grown: how will it rate?

We'll let you judge for yourselves whether or not you think this bag of nippy goodness was very popular in our home.

What's this?

Holy CAT! It's the Good Stuff!
Pardon me while I help myself...

"Allie, pay attention. Just one quick sniff - that's ALL.
his stuff is mine."

"Who does he think he's fooling? A girlcat needs good nip. And a nice mani/pedi."
"ooooooh, you lovely nip, you...."

 Survey says: WINNER!

(Being the Responsible Cat that he is, Maxwell decided to abstain so that at least one cat in the home is sober - in case of emergency, of course. He's waiting til both of them are sleeping it off to get in his snort. Film at eleven.)

To purchase your own bag of Natural Pet Company's catnip, you can click on this link to be directed to their Amazon store.
Natural Pet Company graciously gave us the bag of catnip to review but we were not compensated for writing this post. All opinions are our own.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday Trivia: The Cat that ate the Canary

Depending on where you're from, this phrase either means that you're smug and pretty darned self-satisfied ... or it means that you may look a bit guilty (yet pretty pleased with yourself).

It's been around for ages, or has it?

The earliest published version of the phrase seems to date back to the late 1800's. Several newspapers in Australia, the UK and America made reference to the cat and the canary in a joke that was popular in humor columns at the time:

"Father: That cat made an awful noise in the back garden last night.
 Son: Yes, sir. I guess that since he ate the canary, he thinks he can sing."

Nope, no canaries here.
But you have to move forward to 1910 to see the phrase used as it is today, in a New York Times article published on April 30th entitled, "Cotton Bulls Stand Shock of Deliveries."

In this op-ed piece, the author made mention of a man who "talked freely and carried the smile of the cat that swallowed the canary."

"Smug? Why yes, that's my default expression!"
And there you have it!

Word Reference Forum


Gilded Japanese bird cage, edo period. Courtesy Claire H, via Creative Commons 2.0
Cat Hunting, courtesy Jennifer Barnard, via Creative Commons 2.0
Canaries courtesy Wikimedia user 3628zauber, via GNU Free Documentation License
Abyssinian courtesy Wikimedia user Lilliinda, via GNU Free Documentation License

Please join us in remembering those without homes

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This one's for you, Waffles.
Be sure to show Gloman how Counter Surfing is done!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday News: Awards and a Portrait!

Nerissa over at Nerissa's Life has created a new award - the Opposites Attract Award - on the occasion of their 200th post. He presented it to Allie on September 22 - the Fall equinox! So we wanted to be sure to get this one in circulation as quickly as possible.

Here are the Rules:
First, you need to thank the blogger who gave you the Opposites Attract Award and link back to their blog. Easy!

The Opposites Attract Award is all about opposites so boys have to give the award to girls and girls have to give it to boys.

Secondly, you need to post the award on your blog. Simple as can be.And thirdly, you need to pass the award along to at least one other blogger. More than one would be better but if you can only come up with one, that’s okay too.

So without further ado, we nominate:

Thanks, Nerissa, for thinking of Allie - she's so very honored!

Also...waaaaaaaay back on 9/12, (yes our mom is a slacker) the Florida Furkids very kindly gave us:

The Super Sweet blogger award! Thank you so much for thinking of our crew over here, and since we know so many already have this award, please feel free to snag it - we're offering it up to everyone, cuz we think you're all pretty sweet!

Finally - Breaking News! 

Today, HH and the Boys are featuring a portrait of Faraday on their blog - and we think she's done an amazing job.
SO, whaddaya think? We all think she's made him look  far sweeter than he is in purrson!Thanks so much, Lou!
Day 24 - Faraday by Lou Belcher Acrylic ~ 6" x 6"

Remembering Summer: Rose Retrospective #1

We interrupt our Toon Tuesdays for a memorial to summer:

We're going to miss those guys this winter...!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Deaf Pet Awareness Week

Each year, the last full week in September is set aside as Deaf Awareness Week. Several organizations such as Petfinder have recently begun to promote deaf pet awareness during this time. This is an important topic for us, so we're reprising our post from last year about it: 

As many of you may already know, our own Maxwell (the handsome cat you see here to the right) came to us completely deaf.

We were actually a bit surprised to learn from Petfinder that some people think deaf pets are less intelligent than hearing animals.

Or that they need some kind of hearing companion to function.

In fact, we've found Maxwell to be the most inquisitive of all our cats. He was the first to discover how to open drawers and cabinet doors (and promptly teach Faraday how to do it too!).

He's always right there when Marty has some kind of home project going on - the more mechanical (or in the image below, electrical!) the better.

As Petfinder says, "deaf pets are just as intelligent as hearing pets. They make great only pets or do well with other animals in the home..."

We could not agree more - and we find it saddening that people might avoid adopting these special animals because of a misconception like this.

(electricity was OFF, and Max
gave out lots of advice!)

We thank Petfinder for bringing the "less adoptable" nature of deaf animals to the forefront this week.

Another thing we'd like to point out is Petfinder's warning: "The only real caveat in adopting a deaf pet is that it should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors unless it is in a securely fenced enclosure, since they cannot hear cars or other dangers approaching."

We can't emphasize this point enough. Maxwell never ever goes out.

And if you need a visual aid as to why, just take a look at how Maxie reacts to the "danger" of an oncoming vacuum cleaner in the video below.

Notice he doesn't react to it at all - until he sees it out of the corner of his eye. Had he been outside, and that been a car - he would not have made it.

Petfinder also debunked the myth that a deaf pet "needs" a hearing companion to function successfully.

"Deaf animals bark, meow, whinny, and make all the regular sounds their hearing counterparts make," Petfinder writes. "They can be taught sign language commands and are fully trainable."

We can attest to that. Maxie functions just fine inside the home, thank you very much!

And he has the very cutest little "meep". True, it's highly unusual sound for such a vocal breed as Siamese. But it's too darned cute!

And yes, they can be taught sign language.

Though we must warn teaching a deaf cat sign language, be prepared for him to ignore you when you say "no" - just like all hearing cats do!


2013 Update: Many of you already know this, but about the time Maxie turned a year old, he had surgery that partially restored his hearing in one ear (the other will never be restored since he has no eardrum in it!).

We're not sure what he hears and what he doesn't. Maxie's other senses are so highly developed that he'll respond to a garage door opener - feeling its vibration - before either other cat responds to its sound. That, incidentally, is one reason it can be so difficult to diagnose a cat as being deaf in a shelter environment!

The one thing we do know is that the hearing is monaural - and because of that, whatever he does pick up, he can't determine where it's coming from.  Just yesterday I saw him look in every direction but the source of my voice when I called to him.

(Yet another reason to keep him inside all the time: if a cat cannot tell the direction of a potential danger, such as a car.)

If you ever do see photos on this blog of Maxwell outside, it's because I happened to have a camera close by when he managed to make a dash for freedom. I assure you, those photos were taken while we're trying to coax him back out from underneath the bushes then escorting him right back inside, pronto!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sultry Sunday

Allie: Am I doing it right?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Photohunt: Rousing

Faraday serenades you with a rousing chorus of 99 bottles of catnip:
"99 bottles of Nip on da wall, 99 bottles of NIIIIIP....."

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fun Find: DIY Kitty Recliner

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 love it when we find something cool on Pinterest. Take a look at this classy chaise lounge!

photo courtesy Windell H. Oskay,
via Creative Commons 2.0

We loved it so much we tracked down its owners and asked permission to share the photo with you.
Get this: its creators can be found at! 

Seriously - you just gotta love a website named Evil Mad Scientist.

And check this out: Evil Mad Scientist has posted instructions on how to make your very own chaise - at this link here - for free. It doesn't get any better than this.

(oh, and Allie says to tell you they look FAB in PINK. Not that she'd know...our cardboard is brown just like yours.)


Congratulations to the Winners! has spoken, and the two winners who will receive a copy of the book, "Cat in an Alien X-Ray" courtesy of Tor Publishing are:

Flynn of Eric & Flynn's Adventures


Nerissa of Nerissa's Life

We know you'll enjoy your new read!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday Trivia: Like a dog with two tails

Sometimes, a saying just strikes you as having its roots in a certain culture. For me, this is one of them. This saying just seems cut from the cloth of the Deep South. (Not cut from whole cloth, mind you. That's another saying unto itself!)

I'm happy to say I was right. Sort of.

Okay, not really. Unless the Deep South you're referring to is South Canada.  (Who knew there was a North and a South Canada?)

Brief History Lesson

At one time both Lower and Upper Canada existed as a part of the colony New
France, established in 1534. By France. (Yeah, we figured you'd guessed that part).

France, ca. 1730. Map courtesy
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Then came the Seven Years' War.

When France lost to Great Britain, all of Canada was relinquished to the British.  It evolved into "Upper Canada" and "Lower Canada" as a way to acknowledge the lifestyles of the settlers in each respective area.

Most of those living in the upper basin at the time were British expatriates while those living in the area that is modern-day Quebec were French.

The Constitutional Act of 1791 was passed as a way to allow British immigrants the freedoms of their English laws and institutions while the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could keep French civil law and their predominantly Catholic religion.

So what does this have to do 
with dogs and two tails?

This pup's wagging so fast, he seems
 to have 2 tails! photo: smerikal,
Creative Commons 2.0
Not that much really, except I was so sure this term sounded like something out of the Deep South. Which led me to the discovery that it came from South Canada. Which I hadn't even known existed prior to this little research jaunt.

What was most intriguing to me: most sources that trace the origins of idioms didn't know this. They cite the earliest published use of this idiom as being from an early 20th century journal published by Duke University, called American Speech.

I found only one somewhat obscure reference that led me to a quote written over 100 years earlier.

You see, there was this Scottish engineer named John Mactaggart who journeyed to Upper and Lower Canada.  He was hired to help build a bridge over the Ottawa River at the Chaudière Falls to join the two Canadas together.

Upon his return to England, he wrote Three Years in Canada, and in that book, he declared, "Off went the Laird, as proud as a dog with two tails."

Betcha you didn't expect to get a history lesson today, did you?

The Oxford English Dictionary
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Wikipedia - Upper & Lower Canada
Metaphor Dogs
"Three Years in Canada," John McTaggart. 1829.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Book Giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Carole Nelson Douglas' newest release, "Cat in an Alien X-Ray". This giveaway is open to anyone in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

You have until midnight TONIGHT, Wednesday September 18 to enter!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

'Toon Tuesdays: Cat Rock Bands

Our mommy knows Bill.  He's a humor writer. And nice. Weird, but nice.

Toon Tuesdays feature humor from the peeps over at Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) - where our mom works, too!

Special Alert:

Helping Pets in the Colorado Flood Disaster - BlogPaws Be the Change for PetsAs of yesterday, the flooding in Colorado has spread across 200 miles covering 15 counties. 

11,750 people have been evacuated, with 658 people are still unaccounted for.

Any donation amount would be most appreciated by both people and their pets. 

We are grateful for the heroic work being done
by the shelters and rescue societies below: 

 The Longmont Humane Society started an online fundraiser specifically for displaced pets. You can make a donation here

 The Humane Society of Boulder Valley has been taking in pets and is taking donations here

The Larimer Humane Society is housing lost pets from the heavy flooding that hit Loveland, CO. You can make a donation to them here

You can also follow Colorado Disaster Wildfire/Flood Lost & Found Pets on Facebook and Twitter. They are sharing pets of all sizes.

We thank the BlogPaws Disaster Response network for this helpful information.


Book Giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Carole Nelson Douglas' newest release, "Cat in an Alien X-Ray". This giveaway is open to anyone in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

You have until midnight tomorrow, Wednesday September 18 to enter!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Extra: Maxwell, an Acrylic on Canvas

Have you seen Lou Belcher's art? She's currently working on a '30 in 30" challenge: painting a cat a day for a month. We were honored that she chose Allie and Maxwell as two of her subjects.  If you missed Allie's painting, you can view it here.

Maxwell is today's subject, and we're so thrilled. Take a look:

Here is the reference photo that Lou used.We think she captured his soulful eyes perfectly!

Rental Living and Pets

We were recently contacted by with an infographic on apartment living and pets. They also had a few tips by celebrity dog trainer Harrison Forbes and asked if we wanted to pass along. Indeed we do and here's why:

Did you know that checking to see if a potential new owner's landlord will permit animals is an important step in the adoption process at many shelters? It certainly is at Wayside Waifs, the shelter where I volunteer (and Allie's Alma Mater).

This time of year often shows an uptick in new apartment dwelling as students enroll in college and many opt to rent an apartment versus live in on-campus housing. So we thought this information might be helpful to you or someone you know:

Rental Research Tips
from Harrison Forbes

  1. Don’t hide pet ownership! The stress of lying about / hiding your pet will show through your body language and tone in any situation. Your pet will ALWAYS misinterpret this stress as negative signals from their owner and may act out, bringing even more attention to their presence.
  2. Research, research, research all of the environmental and lifestyle scenarios in your prospective location. Is it near dog-park or walking area? Do you have a heavy dog that can’t do three flights of stairs? Is there a weight restriction? Is there a pet deposit or pet fee? If so, is it refundable? All of these questions (and many more) can help you to determine if your pet would be comfortable in the new location and if it is even a feasible option for you to explore.
  3. Many landlords are on the fence about pet ownership, and list pets in rental descriptions as a “case-by-case basis”, so when meeting with the management, plug the good attributes of your pet and sell yourself as a responsible pet owner by going through your pets’ routines and histories. Offer to schedule a pet interview so the landlord interacts with and feels comfortable with your pet. Landlords are letting you live in their expensive investment and you need to make them feel confident that you’re going to take care of it.



Another pet-friendly resource is ABODO - they make finding pet friendly rentals easy. They hope to help pet owners in need find the perfect place and avoid surrendering their pets. 
They even have a free service where they search for you to find the right rental that fits all your needs. 
They are listed on,, and many other pet sites as a trusted resource.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Investigating Melon Patch.

??!??!  WHAT just ran over my paw?!?


Book Giveaway!

Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Carole Nelson Douglas' newest release, "Cat in an Alien X-Ray". This giveaway is open to anyone in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

You have until midnight Wednesday September 18 to enter!