Monday, February 22, 2010

February Is National Cat Health Month!

I received a pleasant surprise a few days ago when I was contacted by Danielle Paleafico of Coyne Public Relations in Parsippany, NJ who represents 9Lives Cat Food. Through the course of our conversation she informed me that February is "National Cat Health Month". It is only fitting that with February being the month that we honor those we love on Valentine's Day that it would also be the month that we should honor the cats in our lives that we love so very much by being aware of and addressing their health concerns.

Top on the list of health concerns is proper nutrition. A nationwide survey commissioned by 9Lives of feline pet parents across the country called the  "Pet Parent Purrception Survey" had some interesting findings:

"94 percent of American cat owners are confident they feed their felines the most nutritious meals possible
Nearly half (48 percent) admit they have fed their cat table scraps which do not provide the essential nutrients that cats need."

"30% know that giving your cat milk may not be a healthy practice due to the common incidence of lactose intolerance in adult cats"

Because of the seriousness of this situation 9Lives commissioned their top and most well known spokes-kitty "Morris The Cat" to help bring awareness to this issue! "Morris The Cat" is the acting "Advocat" for feline nutrition speaking for all of the kitties who cannot speak for themselves!

"Morris The Cat" informed me that 9Lives now has "Advanced Nutrient System" where "pet parents everywhere can rest assured knowing that the essential nutrients their cat needs are available to them in the food they love, at a price they can afford. With 40 percent of cats suffering from obesity and more than a quarter of felines having never visited the vet "Morris The Cat" and 9Lives want pet parents to know that armed with the right nutritional information, they can give their cats the food they need to live a long and healthy life. To receive nutritional advice and information on selecting the right food for your cat with the 9Lives Nutrition Simulator, visit

Thanks to Danielle Paleafico of Coyne Public Relations, 9Lives and of course "Morris The Cat" for this information and for your continued dedication to enriching, protecting and informing all of us who are Kitty Moms and Dads and helping us to be the best kitty parents that we can be!

Monday, February 15, 2010

No "Cat"astrophe!! Thank Goodness!!

Whew!! Had a scare this morning. It all started with my food obsessed daily alarm clock (my "Adventure Boy" Cody) not waking my husband and I up this morning, NOT NORMAL! He is usually scratching and clawing at the bedroom door as if he hadn't been fed a meal in eternity, crying and wailing with all of his being to feed him AND NOW!! Not today.....RED FLAG.

A few minutes later I heard him cry out in pain and couldn't find him. I did find that he had thrown up a couple of fur balls and wasn't worried until I noticed his food bowl was untouched, (with Cody that is a problem that NEVER EXISTS), RED FLAG. 

I went in the bedroom and witnessed my poor baby hacking and hacking, finally, he threw up white foam. The white foam took me over the edge and had me in a complete panic. Years ago my beloved Angel Bobo threw up a white foamy substance every few hours, turned out he had six kidney stones that required emergency surgery and a three day stay at the vet.

Cody went and hid under the dining room table (RED FLAG) and was growling periodically (RED FLAG) and was obviously irritated with our Shelties' gyrations, contortions, and herding dance of concern around him. Cody normally adores Dakota and loves to be "ravaged" by him so that was another cause for concern.

I called the vet (Deporre on Maple and Telegraph, they are FABULOUS THERE, they are my regular vet and have been for years and they were able to get Cody right in.

I raced over in my pink velveteen pjs (looking like a giant pink velveteen rabbit), Cody in always he was a fabulous boy in the car, only an occasional cry, perfect boy.

To make a long story short after X-rays Cody is TOTALLY FINE! The doctor thinks he had a ton of gas (with how he normally eats no surprise here, he takes after his "Mom" lol) and sent me home with furball meds.

Did I over react? Jump the gun? Take Cody to the vet too soon? I regret it? NO!!!! Our cats are our "babies", we are attuned to their every nuance more than anyone could be, they cannot speak for themselves when ill or in pain, it is up to us to be their advocate and to be observant to any changes in their routine. Yes Cody is ok and I am beyond grateful that he is, but to wait and possibly regret is much, much worse than going with your gut and thankfully finding out that all is ok!!! A trip to the vet is NEVER, EVER a wasted trip to the vet!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cat Scratch Fever

A cat scratching your cherished furniture, carpet, sweater, etc can be frustrating and send you into a "cat scratch fever"- frenzy, but before you take your frustrations out on your beloved kitty there are a few points that should be understood:

1) DO NOT DECLAW!!! Ask any vet and they will tell you about a myriad of physical and emotional behaviors that can arise as a result of declawing. If you have an indoor cat and think that it will not affect it, think again. You are setting your cat up for disaster should it ever escape and venture into the great outdoors, it will be completely defenseless from natural predators.

2) You CANNOT STOP A CAT FROM DOING ANYTHING- cats are fiercely independent,  get real folks, we are not talking about the drooling, jumping, attention hogging, family dog who cannot exist without approval from their "pack". Cats don't have "packs" they are free agents, lone wolves, they could frankly care less if you disapprove of them or not, they are going to do what they want, when they want, thank you very much and it is up to you to try and redirect their behavior and provide an acceptable outlet for the behavior.

3) You CANNOT STOP your cat from scratching, it is part of it's genetics. A cat scratches for a variety of reasons:exercise, to mark its' territory, and because it is FUN!!!  You cannot stop it but you CAN provide something suitable for your cat to scratch.

I have owned 2 cats and have never, ever experienced significant scratching issues from either one of them. The key is to be observant and to try and re-direct them to an APPROVED scratching object when you first see the cat scratching something that it is not permitted to scratch. I provided scratching posts for both of my cats (all pet stores and pet websites have them, you can also make them yourself). A scratching post should have some type of rough surface (think emery board here!!)
Even the reverse side of a carpet remnant would serve well as an alternate scratching surface. To encourage your cat to use the scratching post you can rub catnip on it, (I have even put a few treats at the base of the post) Your cat is smart, it WILL get the idea.

When you observe the cat scratching an object or area that it is not permitted to scratch, DO NOT SCOLD IT. Gently pick it up and bring it to the scratching post and even if you have to, gently work its' paws up and down on the post to show the cat the behavior IS permitted in this DO SCRATCH ZONE. You may have to repeat this behavior a few times but trust me, your cat is quite intelligent and it WILL get the idea.

Understanding your cat and accepting the quirks that are part of their evolution and genetics,  and providing a safe and accepted outlet for your cat to be just that.....A CAT.....will enhance both of your lives and save alot of chairs in the process!!!!