Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Uninvited Guest: Successfully Introducing a New Cat into the Household – or Not

FROM CAT CHAT WITH CAREN AND CODY:This is a guest post by Nancy Peterson, Cat Programs Manager for The Humane Society of the United States. We thank Nancy as always for her super contributions to our blog!

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Peterson

My sister and I adopted 1-year-old sisters Zubi and Luna in September 2002 and our home in Maryland was all theirs for seven and a half years. They were cuddle cats – mostly with each other –and although I loved them, I yearned for a cat to cuddle with me. My sister knew that I met wonderful shelter cats at my job, so before I left for any trip my sister would say, “and don’t bring home any cats.”

In January 2006, I visited a shelter in Florida and had the opportunity to choose three shelter cats for that day’s filming of a CD about caring for adopted cats. As soon as I entered the cat enclosure to meet the cats, a brown tabby flew across the room and leaped into my lap. He immediately started licking my face, kneading my arm, and purring up a storm. I chose two other friendly cats and we went to the studio.

The brown tabby popped out of the first carrier I opened, walked all around the room, and greeted everyone – unlike most cats I knew who would probably hide or slink around when confronted with a new situation.

After the cat made his rounds, I was directed to play with him, brush him and feed him. Then, I was asked to trim his nails. As soon as I sat down, the cat was in my lap, licking my face, kneading my arm and purring. Once filming wrapped up, the cats were returned to the shelter.

I could not stop thinking about the friendly brown tabby and immediately called the shelter when I woke up the next morning to say that I wanted to adopt him. Then I called my sister who said it was okay. The shelter told me the cat, Tobias, was 10 years old, but I did not care because I loved his personality.

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Peterson

I renamed the cat Toby and confined him for several weeks on the first level of our house in order to introduce him properly to Zubi and Luna. Fortunately, I could keep them apart because a glass door separated the first and second levels. Since I did not want them to see each other, I covered the glass with newspaper and fed them for several weeks on opposite sides of the door so they’d associate each other with good things. One day, I tore away a teeny corner of the newspaper. When Zubi and Luna saw Toby, they hissed and fled upstairs. They never came down again.

During the years, I tried to gradually introduce Toby to the girls. I took him upstairs, initially on a harness and leash so I could control him, and offered them food bribes and catnip, filled the air with the sounds of a cat-calming CD and calming scents, and played with them so they’d associate one another with good things. I couldn’t make it work, so I put a bell on Toby’s collar to let the girls know when he’d escaped the first level and was headed their way.

Animal shelters and rescue groups have cats of every age, size, color and activity level. They can help you choose the right cat so you’ll have a better chance of a harmonious household. If you think you’ll ultimately want two cats, adopt two at the same time – adults who are already strongly bonded or kittens.

When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter or rescue group, they‘ll likely know about the cat’s personality and activity level, which, if similar to your cat’s, can improve the odds that they’ll get along. Another benefit of adopting from an animal shelter or rescue group is that the cat will likely have been examined, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered. Adoption will also save that cat’s life and make a cage available for another homeless cat.

If you adopt a stray, have him or her examined by your veterinarian before you bring the cat into your home. In addition to confining the new cat for a proper introduction, confining him or her for quarantine is important in case he’s incubating an illness that could be passed to your other cat. Wherever your new cat comes from, be sure your current cat or cats are up to date on their vaccinations as well.

When you add a cat to your household, it’s important to increase resources – such as water, food bowls, litter boxes, toys, vertical space and beds. Fill your cats’ indoor environment with opportunities to hunt (toys), relax in the sun (on a window perch), and scratch (a post or pad). Preventing cat behaviors you don’t want is easier than eliminating them. Reading The Humane Society of the United States’ Cat Answer Tool before you introduce cats will be helpful since most cats are quite territorial and dislike change.

Introducing cats improperly, such as allowing them to “work things out,” punishing, yelling at, or scaring them, can lead to years of bad blood between cats or a cat’s return or surrender to an animal shelter or rescue group.

You can also increase the chance cats will get along by spaying and neutering them because unsterilized cats are usually more territorial and aggressive. Spaying and neutering pet cats before puberty at four to six months of age has many health benefits and plays a critical role in reducing cat overpopulation. If you’re feeding community (feral and stray) cats outdoors, find an organization that supports Trap-Neuter-Return programs, which attempt to curb overpopulation through sterilization. The Humane Society of the United States has a free online Supporting Community Cats webinar series, which has lots of information about how to best help community cats.

Photo Courtesy of Nancy Peterson

If you have unsuccessfully tried to make peace between your pet cats, keep them separated and consult a local shelter or rescue group, your veterinarian, or a cat behavior specialist for assistance sooner rather than later. There are no winners in cat fights.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A BIG Birthday Thank you and the Winner of Catnapped: A Klepto Cat Mystery by Patricia Fry

I was  completely blown away by the outpouring of birthday greetings from so many on my birthday this past Monday. I want to thank EVERYONE for helping to make it such a great day (even if the weather in Michigan was less than cooperative!) You ALL made the sun shine for sure!

I wanted to share the greetings I received, I am hoping I got them all. If I missed someone, I am soooooo sorry!!! Here we go!

From Cats of Wildcat Woods

From Cathy Keisha of Stunning Keisha

From Zee and Zoey

From D.Abernathy

From Glogirly

From The Island Cats
From Two Devon Cats (Eric and Flynn)

From Cat Wisdom 101
From L.Fleming-Facebook
From Grace & Company
From Chloe and CecilYep they are a CAT blog!
From Sukiroo Cat Toys Facebook
From Curlz and Swirlz
From Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries and Meows
From Zipsy Tinney Meow on Facebook
From The Conscious Cat
From Milo and Alfie of The Cat's Meow
From Julia Williams-Canidae Blog

Last but CERTAINLY and NEVER least, this adorable greeting from Sammy and Pam over at
Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Another digital greeting card by Smilebox

There were TONS of posts on Facebook and comments on the blog as well. Thanks again to ALL who helped make my birthday so special! I received WOOFIE cards too, you can find those on Dakota's blog!!!




Is Your Cat A Connoisseur Of Plastic? pet #protips

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish.   As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.

I stood in the bathroom, opening a package of "Post-It" notes, carefully looking over my shoulder to make sure "He" was nowhere in sight, opening it as quietly as I eyes scanning the area, "all is safe" I thought to myself as I carefully placed the plastic "Post-It" wrapping in the bathroom garbage basket as quietly as I could. Normally when I leave the bathroom I close the door behind me in case "He" makes an appearance, today I didn't. I smiled smugly thinking that I had pulled one over on him, "He" had missed the feast!

 I walked into the hallway, sat at the kitchen table to do some work on the laptop. I heard a noise. A crinkling noise. "Noooo!" I thought, "this can't be!!" I jumped from the chair and ran into the master bedroom where I saw him making his escape. "He" ran through the hallway with the agility and speed of a pro football  punt returner, darting, weaving, slinking down nearly to the ground knowing I was on to him. I had caught him red-pawed. The chase was on! "He" ran as if his life depended on it, "Post-It" wrapping hanging from his mouth, saliva filled, like dead prey, lifeless in the clench of his teeth. "He" ran faster, head down, shoulders hunched, knowing this was his only chance. If I wasn't so afraid that the plastic would be swallowed I would have laughed myself sick at the visual of  this silver gray pot-bellied furbaby running as if his life depended on it.

 I screamed "Drop it! Drop It", clapping my hands like a crazy woman. I shouted "Drop It" louder and with more urgency. Then I realized, this is not a dog, why am I yelling "Drop It" to HIM? This was a thief who was cunning like no other. This was the plastic pilferer, "He" was none other than my cat, Cody. The chase continued. Up and down the hall, he cut me off, darting in front of me hoping to trip me so he could be alone with his "catch". He headed back to the bedroom. "If he goes under that bed it is all over I thought" I ran faster, clapping louder, yelling his name. Aha!!!!!! The loudest clap worked! He dropped the plastic wrapping and ran like the little thief that he is. Another plastic catastrophe averted, for now.

Why do cats like to eat or lick plastic?
Cody will chew on grocery bags, assorted cellophane wrappers (such as "Post-It" note wrappers as mentioned above), the plastic garbage bag ties, the plastic packaging on toilet paper and paper towels. If it's plastic, he wants it, he wants it bad and he wants it NOW.

When I first noticed this behavior, which I originally thought was bizarre ( I have now learned it is extremely common in cats) I asked my vet about it. He told me that plastic bags are now made with biodegradable ingredients such as corn starch which cats are attracted to both through taste and smell. Plastic bags that come from the grocery stores also carry the scent and taste of the foods that were housed in them. Another theory is that an animal fat called "tallow" is used to make the bags. Cats can detect tallow by smell and greatly enjoy the taste.  Cats are also attracted to the crinkly sound that plastic  makes when chewed or licked. Some say that cats lick and chew plastic because some of their dietary needs are not being met, others say it is an obsessive compulsive behavior that resulted from having been weaned too early. None of these theories have been proven, they are just guesses as to why many cats crave licking and chewing plastic. Licking plastic alone will not harm a cat, what WILL harm a cat is if it ingests any of the plastic. This can cause a deadly gastrointestinal blockage.

Whatever the reasons, many cats have a passion for plastic. You need to be on the alert. Avert the sly cat burglar in your home, keep your plastic bags and shiny cellophane wrappers, your garbage bags and "Post-It" note wrapping where your sleuth cannot reach them.

  Don't be an accessory to the crime!!

Do your cats have a passion for plastic
 or some other strange substance?
 Tell me in a comment below!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Birthday To My Mom!

Today is the day that my Mom moves one year closer to REALLY being "Older Than Dirt!!"

Mom is so thankful for all of the wonderful greetings she started to receive a day early, she loves each and every one of them!!!

My Uncle even sent her a special birthday greeting from Mom's fave group of all time, The Beatles!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Children's Books:Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie's Best Friend By Kristen Mott

"For Odie, because sometimes the smallest ones
become the biggest inspirations"

Odie the Stray Kitten is a charming book about a little orange and white kitten who lost his family on a cold winter night. He never expected to find a loving forever home in a horse barn. Not only did he find a loving, forever home, he also found hope, new friends and a name.  His name happens to mean "inspiration", which is no coincidence. Odie the Stray Kitten is not only an adorable read for little ones, but it shows that out of something that initially seems like a bad situation, something GOOD can come out of it!

"For Bandit, because every animal
has a story to tell"
Odie’s Best Friend is the second book in the Odie the Stray Kitten Series. It focuses on the story
of Bandit, a gray and white cat, and his journey to find a forever home. His adventures take him
through an animal shelter and life as a stray before he finds a home on the farm with Odie and
their girl. This is the follow-up to 2013’s Odie the Stray Kitten, which was a 2014 Next
Generation Indie Book Award Winner, 2014 Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Award Honorable Mention, and 2014 Recipient of the Children’s Literary Classics’ Seal of Approval.

Both Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie's Best Friend were lovingly and skillfully illustrated by Lowell Hildebrandt. The illustrations are vibrant and delightful, children of all ages will enjoy them!

Are you ready? Odie and Bandit are based on REAL cats!

Odie and Bandit
This photo came from
Kristen's Facebook Page

Author Kristen Mott has loved animals since she was a child. She graduated in 2008 from the
Indiana University School of Journalism. She now lives on a small farm in Indiana with her
husband and son where they care for two cats, Odie and Bandit, and two horses, Dorothy and

Kristen strives for her writing to encourage children to read, write their own stories, and have
compassion for animals. The idea for this book was developed from a response to an article the
author read about the devastating statistics of animal life and death in local shelters. That
response was then spun down and edited into a story suitable for children about how the author
believes Bandit ended up on her farm.

Odie and Bandit
Photo from Kristen's Facebook Page

 The story is a good means for parents to talk to their
children about animal shelters, the reasons they exist, and what they do. It is also meant as a
springboard for questions and discussion about the issue.

These books would make wonderful bedtime stories and would be perfect for pre-school teachers and elementary school teachers (the lower grades), to share with their classrooms.

For more information about the Odie the Stray Kitten Series please visit:

Or you can contact the author directly:

Both Odie the Stray Kitten and Odie’s Best Friend are available on,,, and other online retailers.

I was not compensated for sharing either of these books with my readers.
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