Sunday, December 20, 2009


This post originally ran in December of 2009. With Christmas right around the corner I thought it was worth a second look.....

Fa-la-la-la-la what a joyous time of year this is for those who celebrate Christmas but if the right safety measures aren't followed in reference to your cat it can turn into the "Nightmare Before Christmas" or the nightmare during Christmas. Save yourself an emergency trip to the vet by following some simple guidelines and make it a "Merry Christmas" for your main meower(s)!!!

 THE TREE-there are thousands upon thousands of pet related Christmas tree injuries every year. Even cats who gazed with disinterest at the tree years  earlier and may not have ever bothered the tree in the past can suddenly take a liking to it and a potential disaster can occur. Be sure your tree is secured (to the wall or ceiling) away from furniture. (Cats love to jump from furniture onto the tree) you also do not want your tree to become a climbing post (especially for kittens). Make sure that the tree is close to an electrical outlet so that cords do not have to run a far distance in the room. My first husband was Catholic so I used to put up a tree for him. My Angel Bobo was about 2 at the time. He thought the tree was a giant Pinata and spent his day while I was at work shaking the tree until all of the ornaments dropped, he thought he hit a cat toy cornucopia!! (I witnessed him doing this one day when I was home from work and it explained why every day that I came home, the tree was sprawled on the floor in it's nakedness. Thankfully he never ingested anything that could have hurt him.

 DO NOT USE TINSEL. Cats love to eat tinsel and it cannot be passed if ingested. Hello emergency room.

 DO NOT USE HOOKS ON YOUR ORNAMENTS-replace the ornament hooks with a loop of thin ribbon or thin yarn tied in a knot. If an ornament falls from the tree with a hook on it the hook can get caught in your curious kitty's mouth or can be are not trying to catch a cat fish.

 BULBS THAT ARE SAFER FOR PETS-should be plastic or wood. (However there is no safe ornament for pets. DO NOT TRIM THE LOWER TREE BRANCHES....obvious reasons......too close for a curious cat. Try using  large velvet ribbons on your tree that are not only attractive but safe.

DO NOT PUT WRAPPED GIFTS UNDER THE TREE PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS. Cats don't understand that they aren't opened til Christmas Day. They can ingest paper, string, and all the bling on the boxes....bring gifts out at the last minute.

 SWEEP UP FALLEN PINE NEEDLES-If a cat eats these they can cause vomiting and gastric irritation. Do not allow your pet access to the tree water as a forest drinking bowl. Keep tree lights OFF when you are out. They are a fire hazard.

SPRAY THE TREE WITH BITTER APPLE-for the curious kitty who just cannot leave the tree alone.


May you and your cat(s) have a Merry, and Calamity-Free will save yourself huge emergency vet bills and allow your vet to enjoy their holiday as well by following the above tips!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving and Feral Cats

A dear friend of mine calls herself the "Crazy Cat Lady" but she is not crazy, (well maybe a little kooky but definitely not crazy!)   She has an immense love of cats and a desire to help all cats, which is how she started caring for a feral cat colony by providing them with food on a daily basis. She has done this for quite some time and today she contacted me with an enormous dilemma, she is moving and wanted to know how she should move the feral cats and what type of shelter she should provide for them with the  fast-approaching, frigid, Mid-West Winter scratching at the door.

Cats are very territorial and "place/situation oriented" and moving can be quite traumatic. They are creatures of habit and if she chooses to move them herself there are very strict guidelines/procedures that should be followed: she can either buy a trap (cage) or borrow one from a local animal shelter. The dangerous part of trapping the cats yourself is among other things, the danger of accidentally trapping someone's beloved pet kitty, along with, in addition to, or instead of the kitty colony.
There are certain types of cages that should be used, there should be a towel on the bottom of the cage, mackerel or tuna used as "bait" and a blanket at the ready to cover the cage with once the cats are trapped.

As for shelter for feral cats in the winter? An old dog house with straw on the floor should work just fine (one with a pet door would be ideal to keep the elements out, the straw traps warmth and will be less cold for the cat. Also a shed or unused section of woodpile or under a deck, (straw could be placed there as well)

In my opinion this is too much for an inexperienced individual to undertake and they should seek the advice of a professional. This led me to search for exactly who could help her and I think I found the answer!
There  is a Feral cat rescue group called "Alley Cat Allies" which can address all of her concerns. They can connect her with someone in their "feral friends network" in her area. The website is

I applaud my friend for the good she has done and continues to do, I applaud her for not just abandoning the cats and for being responsible by attempting to make provisions for them when she moves. There are too many people who take on the responsibility of feeding feral cats and when they are done they are done without giving another thought about the cats and what will happen to them.

I hope she contacts "Alley Cat Allies", I am sure they can offer her the advice and assistance that she needs. "Happy Trails" my dear friend, I am looking forward to hearing about what happened, I am hopeful you will have a happy tale  (tail) to share!

Friday, November 27, 2009

If Your Cat Has Fleas

Call the vet.

All situations are unique. Treatment options are decided upon based on your cats' age, disposition, health concerns, etc.

Call the vet.

Forget over-the-counter treatments, they are not strong enough.

Call the vet.

Once you discover your cat has fleas (which are small flat-bodied insects that are no bigger than a pinhead) you will need professional strength treatment and only a vet can provide that. Your vet can prescribe medication that can be given by mouth, applied directly to the skin or by a shot.

The longer you wait to call the vet the more fleas the cat will have. A vet can also give you shampoos, foams, dips, sprays etc that can help you fight the battle of the fleas both on your cat and in your home.

Many vets have on-site groomers who can also treat the cat.

Someone that commented on this site mentioned they were told they can bathe the cat in dishwashing liquid to get rid of the fleas. DO NOT DO THIS. Dishwashing liquid is too harsh for your cat's skin, they have shampoos specifically designed for cats.

Call the vet.

If a cat has a bad case of fleas it can possibly lose blood and become anemic.

Call the vet.

Your cat will be "itching" to see him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Be a Turkey, Protect Your Cat on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a delicious time of year for we humans but in can be a deadly time of year for our precious little fur babies. I poked around the Internet and found some excellent pointers on keeping our kitties safe and out of the emergency vet on Thanksgiving and throughout the entire holiday season. Please take a moment to read them, you will give thanks that you did!

1) Do not allow access to counter tops/ranges-the delicious smell of turkey and other goodies can be tempting to your cat.  There is a huge danger of the hot foods or hot stove causing a cat's tail or fur to catch on fire.

2) Dispose of the turkey string-where the cat cannot get it! Same goes for the plastic turkey wrapping. A cat eating either of these items can require life-saving surgery.

3) Keep Cats Away From The Fireplace & Candles!
I learned that the hard way in reference to candles. My first cat "Bobo" used to stand on the arms of chairs. I had a candle on top of our console TV and when poor Bobo went to turn,  his tail caught on fire. Luckily I scared him into jumping off the arm rest ( thankfully I was in the room) and was able to "clap" his poor tail to put out the fire. He was completely fine but I learned a valuable lesson. I could have had a fried or tail-less cat and an apartment destroyed by a fire!

4) Turkey-I once heard from a former vet that I went to in Cleveland, Ohio that turkey was not good at all for a male cats' urinary tract. Has anyone else ever heard this? If you want to feed your cat some turkey give it just a little nibble, make sure it is well cooked and boneless!!

5) Sage-this herb and many others contain "essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities" (this info came from "The Cat's Meow on Catster)

6) Macadamia Nuts, Raisins and Grapes, Onions and Garlic and Chocolate-these can cause everything from tremors, to kidney failure to death.

If entertaining a large group and you will be unable to pay much attention to your cat(s) my advice is to put him in a separate room (where no guests will be entering). Be sure you provide  food, water, litter, a comfortable place to sleep and some toys. This will keep your kitty calm and away from all of the noise of the holiday celebration (which most cats hate) and  it will keep he/she away from poking, prodding, tail-pulling children, etc. It will make you both feel safe and secure! You, because you won't have to worry about what your cat is getting into and your kitty because he/she will have peace and quiet!!

 Let's all give thanks for all of the wonderful Guardian Kitty Angels who once shared our lives and our Earth Kitties who  are currently allowing us to share theirs and who are thankful for our never-ending devotion and protection!

Have a purr-fectly safe, happy, blessed and delicious Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Should You Own A Cat?

There is no doubt that owning a cat, or as I prefer to say having the cat allow YOU to share IT'S home is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have in your life, but being a responsible pet owner brings certain points that  must be considered.

This is a necessity! Normal veterinary care includes yearly shots, tests for worms and other exams that may be needed depending on the age of your cat. The average cost runs anywhere from $100-$300/year (remember that was average, for a healthy cat, costs can be much, much higher for a cat with special needs).
The key is preventive care, have the cat checked at least yearly (for cats under age 7 with no health issues), Senior cats (age 7 and up) should ideally be checked by the vet every 6 months.

cat food, cat carrier, cat litter, litter pans and scoops, cat toys, trees, treats etc.

Cats are relatively low maintenance but it is important to remember that the cat will rely on you for it's entire life (which on average can be 15 years or more!!) If you are not prepared for such a responsibility please do not get a cat. It is much, much harder to place an adult cat in a home should you decide you no longer want the cat once it passes the cuteness of kittenhood. Please, if you cannot give the cat the love, attention and health exams that it needs to live a long and happy life, do not get a cat!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Curiosity Nearly Killed This Cat Lover/Blogger

I'm baaaack and sooo happy to be back and all in one piece!

Monday evening I was on the balcony enjoying the unseasonably warm weather when "what to my wondering ears", I heard the sound of a cat crying. Uh-oh for me that is a dangerous sound. It is one I cannot ignore. I probed the darkness with my eyes  trying to catch a glimpse of the wailing kitty. Kitty Rescue 911 had been called, I was on alert! I went off to proceed with my rescue! Didn't get the memo that I would be the one crying and in need of rescuing!

In my rush to find the soon to be feline felon I flew out the back door of our condo, eyes riveted on the courtyard ahead so as not to miss my poor victim. Too bad I forgot there were stairs. Big Stairs. Big raggedly edged concrete stairs just waiting to attack.

CRASH, BOOM, WHACK, THUD I rolled and smashed my way to the ground. I bashed my knee, smashed my arm, hand and finger and whammed the side of my face onto the concrete. Thank G-d for baseball hats with brims! If I hadn't been wearing one I am certain I would have cracked my skull.
I rolled onto my back, legs in the air, like a water bug, (not a pretty site to see this kind of girth laying in that most unbecoming manner). I was afraid I couldn't move. I lay there looking at the lights of our condo on the 2nd floor wondering why my Sheltie who barks at every sound (even those unable to be heard by man) did not run to the window to alert my husband that I was in danger and needed help! Lassie he is not, (but we'll keep him).

Thankfully after Xrays I am fine. Still can't bend my finger, I am bruised like an over ripe banana on my chest and arm, ("no doc my husband didn't beat me, I had an altercation with 2 giant steps over a cat!!") but I am fine!!

I laugh when I think of what a dear friend said to me when I told her of the mishap. She said she hoped the cat hadn't filmed the entire escapade and posted it on Youtube.

I never did find that cat, but I WILL be checking Youtube.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indoors or Outdoors? You Decide...

Whether or not to allow your cat to explore the great outdoors or keep him inside is a debate that is certain to go on and on. There are many good arguments for both sides.

My first cat Bobo, was found outdoors as a 6 mo. old stray, I have no idea what his history was or where he came from, whether he lived inside, outside or both. Because I did not have a yard when I found him he was confined inside my apartment and did quite well. When I moved to different places that lended themselves to an environment change I would bring him outside on a leash....(more on that in a future blog!) He lived til the ripe old age of 18 and many would argue that he DID live until the age of 18 because he was an indoor cat!

My current kitty Cody, was 8 wks old when I adopted him from a rescue. He lived in a home with cats and dogs but was not exposed to the "great outdoors". I have taken him outside as well, strangely he showed an enormous preference for being inside and has never, ever shown a desire to venture into the vast unknown.
Because I live in a highly commercial, traffic ridden area and I live on the second floor of a condo, I feel it is much safer for Cody to remain an "inside" cat. If I had a home with acreage and little to no car activity I might change my mind.

No matter what side of the fence you find yourself straddling, here are some points to consider for both sides of this age old debate:


No risk of injury or death from vehicles
No risk of sadistic minded individuals poisoning the cat intentionally or accidentally
No risk of injury or death fighting with other cats
Less of a risk of catching an infectious disease from other cats (or wild animals)
Less risk of parasites (fleas, ticks or ringworm)
Getting lost, stolen or possibly picked up by Animal Control
Being stolen to later be sold as a laboratory test animal
Problems with neighbors who do not like cats


Indoor cats can become lazy
Cats by nature prefer being outdoors
Cats are predatory by nature and prefer being outdoors

Whatever you decide if you are going to allow your cat to go outside by all means do NOT declaw your cat, if you do the cat will have no way to defend itself from outdoor predators. I am against declawing period but that too is a topic for a future blog.

If you choose to keep your cat inside there are all kinds of toys, kitty grass, kitty towers, window seats etc. that will offer your cat both the mental stimulation and exercise that he needs to live a vital life.

To me the ideal scenario would be to have an enclosed "cat porch or cat room" that has trees and grass planted in it and windows or screens so the cat can have the best of both worlds!

What are YOUR thoughts on this issue?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cat In Iowa Tested Positive for the 2009 H1N1 Virus

I wanted to post this right away because I was under the impression (as I am sure that many others are) that animals cannot catch the H1N1 virus. I just received this email from Dr. Jon at  Petplace and I have copied the article, please read:

"A cat in Iowa has tested positive for the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, state officials confirmed this morning, marking the first time a cat has been diagnosed with this strain of influenza.

The cat, which has recovered, is believed to have caught the virus from someone in the household who was sick with H1N1. There are no indications that the cat passed the virus on to any other animals or people.

Prior to this diagnosis, the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus had been found in humans, pigs, birds and ferrets.

To date, H1N1 influenza virus infection of pigs has been reported in Canada, Argentina, Singapore, the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), Ireland, Norway, the U.S. and Japan. It has also been reported in turkeys in Chile and Canada. Based on the evidence available at this time, the infections were spread from humans to the animals."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Loving Cats, When Did It Start?

When I first started this blog my hope was to follow a "logical" progression of topics, but due to some wonderful questions that were asked and Halloween and cats being a timely topic my timeline was detoured just a little, you know what they say about "great plans"?

So, in the interest of following somewhat of a logical progression I wanted to backtrack just a bit.
When did your love of cats begin? What drew you to these wonderful, magical, mystical beings?

For me it started at age 15 in the summer. My family had moved to a new home and I was quite lonely after having left a community that I had lived in for 4 years, which meant I had to leave my first "best friends".

My brother and I were in our backyard where at it's furthest point was a large wooded area. We kept hearing this noise that sounded like shrill little squeaks or peeps. Upon further investigation we discovered a tiny, tiny calico kitten....not more than a few days old (if that) abandoned under a pile of leaves.

She was precious. Her eyes were little slits and she was fairly helpless, no signs of her Mom or brothers or sisters anywhere, I imagine she could have been the runt of the litter. I gingerly carried her to our house.

My Mother HATED CATS, when I say hated cats she REALLY, REALLY HATED CATS. I was allowed to keep the kitten in the basement in a cardboard box with a hot water bottle. As soon as she heard me stirring in the morning her tiny little voice would hungrily begin to squeak, I was her world, the only "Momma" that she knew and I was so proud of my furry little baby!  In my heart I felt her Momma had abandoned her and I was determined to care for her in such a wonderful, diligent and responsible way that I was certain my own Mother would reward me by not abandoning my hopes of being the kitten's surrogate Momma and allow me to keep her. The kitten  was so tiny I could hold her in one hand  while I fed her ever so gently with an eye dropper. I am trying to think now what in the world did we do about litter because I honestly don't remember and no one in my family had ever had a cat. I barely remember what I fed her (I am assuming milk which couldn't have been a good idea but we did it and the kitten thrived).  Caring for the kitten proved to be the perfect remedy for the sadness I had felt when we moved and I was forced to leave my friends. I knew in my heart that this little kitten would indeed fill the void and become my new best friend!!

One day I came home (I doubt the kitten was even a month old) and my mother informed me she had put an ad in the local paper advertising a "free kitten". The people who would take the cat were on their way over.
The pain I felt was unreal, but not nearly as unreal as the pain I felt when I was forced to hand the adorable, tiny,  warm milk smelling furball who I had so diligently and lovingly cared for over to her new "parents". I remember my hands shaking as I handed her to them (my mother made me hand the kitten to them because she refused to touch the cat). I abruptly left the basement and ran to my room where I was overcome with grief. I remember sobbing so desperately on my bed. My heart was broken. My plan of caring for the kitten in a most mature and responsible way and sharing many, many years with her was thwarted by my cat loathing mother. I never forgave her for that and from that moment on I became obsessed with all things cats. Cat shirts, cat drawings, cat banks, anything and everything that pertained to cats.  I vowed I would have a cat of my own one day. It took over 15 years for me to have one but indeed I did and he was the most special cat that ever lived, aren't they all?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Wow people that was fast!!!
Thanks to "Nancy" for posting the first question.

"Just adopted a stray last week--named her Rosie. She's about 4 months old--a tuxedo cat with white paws and a little bow tie. Working on socializing her with the other 2 cats (ages 10 and 5) and my 7 yr. old springer spaniel. Let her out today and she was a maniac! Running up and down the stairs, chasing the other cats. When she's in her safe bathroom, she's so docile and affectionate. Any advice out there about introducing a kitten to an established household with cats and a dog?" Nancy

Nancy poses a question that is indeed common however many cat owners are at a loss for exactly how to successfully introduce a kitten to a home with an older resident dog and 2 older resident cats. Frankly I never experienced having to introduce a cat to other cats already residing in the home (but I do have experience introducing a dog to a resident cat)....soooo.......I called in the reinforcements! Translation, I did some research and think I found some good solutions for you.

The following tips came from the website, cats, cat expert "Carol"

"Keep feeding bowls and sleeping areas of the cats and kitten separate"

"Give extra attention to the older cats"

"Keep claws trimmed on all of them"

There will be hissing, but the younger cat will soon learn to respect the boundaries of the older cat
 You  will want to supervise all interaction between the resident cats and the new kitten. It is my feeling that Rosie is "running like a maniac" because she was confined in a smaller space for too long and she wants to play with the other cats!! She will learn soon enough when they want to play (if ever!!) Cats are wonderful at "ignoring" and setting their own boundaries so do not be alarmed with any hissing or swatting that may occur!

As for introducing the new kitten to the older dog more caution is needed. Thankfully your dog is used to being around cats but it is still better to be safe than sorry. I was faced with the same dilemma when we brought our 6 mo old Sheltie in to live with our 6 mo old cat.  I learned through research on the Internet that  dogs and cats rely on scent and are more accepting to someone or something with a similar scent. It was advised that I spray perfume (yep perfume!!!) It can be any scent that you wish it is just important that both the dog and cat are sprayed with the same scent! I thought it was a nutty idea when I read it but it worked! I confined our Sheltie in a crate and allowed the resident cat to come and check him out, there was one hiss and they were fast friends. In your case you may want to crate the cat and allow the resident dog to smell her.  After she has had a chance to check her out you can take Rosie out of the crate and hold her while your dog sniffs her as you are holding her. I am telling you this works!!!

Nancy I hope this helps! If anyone else has experienced the same problem and found a way for everyone to reside in bliss, please feel free to pass the suggestions on!


Hi All!
It is with great pleasure that I am announcing the long awaited "Cat Chat" is finally ready to roll!!

This is not only my blog but YOURS as well!
My goal for "Cat Chat" is to be a place not where I am spewing zillions of cat facts (who wants to read something like that?) My ultimate goal is for this to be a cozy corner (you know like the one your cat curls up in to relax?) A place for cat lovers to come to share their stories, their questions, their thoughts and their concerns and their passion for their furry little motor boat purrers.

The key? Interaction. I want to hear anything and everything about your favorite feline and I will share some feline fun facts as well.....

So grab your comfiest blanket, curl up in your coziest corner, grab a bowl of catnip and let's get to know each other and the kitties in our lives!

Welcome To Cat Chat!!!!