Monday, March 31, 2008

Update: Sam the Poodle

As most of my regular readers are aware, I'm just an old softie. So when I was made aware of Little Sam's plight I sprang into action. Sam may not be in any way feline, but he is a beautiful, loving companion in need.

I received this email on Sunday which I thought I would share with you to show everyone who participated by posting his story, sharing my link, or donating money to save this beautiful animal, our efforts were not in vain. Read on...

From: Ori Bengal - on behalf of Sam The Poodle
To: "unsually_unique
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 11:33:20 PM
Subject: Thanks for Saving Sam The Poodle!

Hello Deborah.

My name is Ori Bengal, and I am the one who put together

I am thrilled to inform you that thanks to your generous donation, Sam The Poodle was able to have his operation (which he survived!), and pay his bills so he can come home.

It's difficult to spare money these days, so your help was definitely appreciated, and I wanted to personally thank you. You should be receiving a letter from Kristen soon (Sam's owner) as well.

As a thank you, I will be sending you a Saving Sam The Poodle screensaver in a few days. I'm just waiting for Sam to come for a visit on his way home, so we can do a quick "After" photo-shoot to include in the slideshow.

Again, thank you for being such a great human being.

Ori Bengal ... on behalf of Sam The Poodle

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Smokers Put Pets At Risk

by Marilyn Pokorney

Do you smoke? Need an incentive to quit? Do you have pets? Then that beloved pet just might be the incentive you need to stop.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have discovered that pets are affected by second-hand smoke.

Cats living with a smoker are two times more likely to get feline lymphoma than one that's not. After five years the rate increases to three times as likely. When there are two smokers in the home, the chances of a cat getting feline lymphoma increases to four times as likely and after five years, three times the rate of cats living in smokefree homes.

Dogs living in a smoking household have a 60 percent risk of getting lung cancer.

Long-nosed dogs, such as collies or greyhounds, are twice as likely to develop nasal cancer if they live with smokers.

Pets of all sizes and ages are affected. But especially small pets, the very young and the old.

Second-hand smoke contributes to a other pet ills as well. As a smoker exhales, the air is filled with poisonous fumes.

A pets eyes can become irritated due to the smoke's effects on the tiny blood vessels found within the eye.

Smoke can damage the sensitive lungs in a pet. Additionally, the noxious fumes can cause a cold that can lead to more serious, life-threatening conditions.

Smoke inhalation quickly irritates an animal's throat because animals have a shorter esophagus than humans.

Just as smoke affects furniture, rugs, curtains, etc. the smoke also affects a pet's living quarters and gets into the pet's fur and skin. A cats hair continuously traps large quantities of smoke particles just like drapery, furniture and clothing. The cat sniffs and inhales these concentrated particles from his fur while grooming which leads to lymphoma in the nasal passages and intestines as well as the chest.

Some pets are allergic to smoke.

Animals have a very acute sense of smell and the odor of smoke is very offensive to them.

Nicotine is a highly toxic chemical. Some pets may suffer the effects of nicotine poisoning when exposed to high concentrations.

If a pet has respiratory allergies such as asthma, the illness is going to be worsened by constantly breathing the second hand smoke.

Respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and a collapsing trachea are the most common possible causes of a chronic cough in dogs. The constant irritation eventually causes the trachea to lose its round open shape. It begins to collapse resulting in even more coughing and irritation, and to an untreatable, intolerable condition usually leading to euthanasia.

So the next time you light up, think of the air that your beloved pet is being forced to inhale.

Here is more information on helping you to kick the smoking habit: smoking pets.

Marilyn Pokorney Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website:


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Allergies In Cats - The Basics

Just like humans a common health problem in cats is allergy. It's strange that we always worry about humans being allergic to cats, but so seldom hear about what cats are allergic to!

In this way, cats aren't that much different from humans. Some foreign substance, commonly referred to as an allergen or antigen, triggers a situation in which the cat's immune system goes into hyper drive and produces symptoms of an allergic condition.

When a cat is allergic to something, common indications will be itchy skin, coughing and/or sneezing in the case of a respiratory problem, or vomiting or diarrhea in the case of a digestive allergy.

Allergies in cats seem to fall into these major categories. Allergies to fleas, foods, things inhaled, or something they have come in contact with.

Contact allergies generally result in a fairly localized reaction on the skin. The cat may scratch a lot and/or there may be an indication of irritation at the place of contact. Most common causes of contact allergies in cats would obviously be items with which they come in close contact such as flea collars, bedding, toys, etc. The sim
plest cure is to remove the contact. Take the collar off or change the bedding, for example. If the irritation persists, or if you still need effective flea control, consult with your veterinarian.

Some cats may also experience allergic reactions to certain plastics and/or metals. If you suspect this in your cat, you may wish to change to a ceramic or glass feeding bowl. Another problem which may mimic a contact allergy can occur if you simply do not rinse your cat carefully and completely after its bath. Residual shampoo or soap on the skin can cause dermatitis which can be mistaken for an allergic reaction.

Happily, contact allergies in cats are the least common type.

Flea allergies, on the other hand, are very common in cats. Any normal cat will commonly experience irritation from flea bites, but a cat with a genuine flea allergy will have a more severe itching reaction to the flea's saliva. A normal cat may simply bite or scratch for a while and then go on to other things, but a cat with a flea allergy may scratch, chew, and worry at the spot until large amounts of fur are lost. This constant attempt to relieve the maddening itch or irritation may result in open sores which can add the risk of infection to the allergy's list of evils. In most cats, the most common area to be affected is going to be on the back just before the tail. The cat may also create spots of sores or scabs on the neck and head. Inhalant types of allergies (atopy) are even more common cat allergies than flea and contact allergies! In fact, this type of allergy is probably the most common allergic problem in cats. It is possible that your cat may be allergic to the exact same allergens that you are! Tree pollens, grass pollens, and weed pollens along with the rest of the items we humans fear; mold, mildew, dust mites, and dust itself can all trigger allergic reactions in both cats and the humans they have trained to tend them.

A big difference between humans and cats, however is that while humans will most commonly react to inhaled allergens by sneezing or coughing, a cat will more commonly react by scratching an itch caused by those same allergens. Unlike a contact allergy, the cat's reaction to inhaled allergens will be a general itching of the skin as opposed to a severe reaction at a specific spot. If your cat seems to be scratching a lot and it doesn't appear to be local, as in reaction to a flea collar for example, there is a good chance that he or she is experiencing a reaction to some inhaled substance.

As in humans, true food allergies in cats can be extremely difficult to pinpoint. One reason is that they commonly demonstrate many of the symptoms of distress seen in the other groups. True food allergies in cats can cause itching and/or respiratory problems. Additionally, true food allergies can cause digestive difficulties as can other illnesses or toxic substances. In cats, food allergies are usually not present from birth, but are developed after long exposure to foods that have been eaten for long periods. Most food allergies will center around the type of protein common in the cat's diet, such as beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. Simply eliminating that type of protein by changing to another type of food will usually take care of the problem.

There are two difficult points for the cat owner when they begin to detect signs that lead them to believe that their cat may have an allergy.

1. The cat may actually be reacting to an irritant, rather than an allergen, and

2. The symptoms may be the result of some other condition, possibly one more dangerous.

For example, a flea infestation may cause flea bites which will itch and the cat will scratch. This is normal. You would scratch too, and extensively, if fleas were munching on you! However, if your cat is allergic to the flea's saliva, they will actually inflict damage on themselves in an attempt to relieve themselves of the intensified itch. However, the itch could be, as pointed out, the result of a food allergy, a contact allergy, or some undiagnosed medical condition such as a fungal infection (perhaps caused by ringworm, for example), mange, or some other type of skin infection which might have been caused by bacteria.

While a little astute detective work on the part of the pet owner may often alleviate the problem, only the veterinarian will usually be able to tell for sure what the cause and effect may actually be...and how to best deal with the situation. However, the vet does not live with your cat, so it is important to note carefully what the symptoms are, when they began, how they have progressed, what steps you have already taken, and what happened as a result of those steps. All of this information will help your vet in getting to the truth behind the apparent allergy in your cat. Your cat's veterinarian will also have diagnostic tools at his or her disposal for getting at the cause of your pet's apparently "allergic" reactions.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer. He is a University of West Florida alumnus, a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army. Learn more about caring for your cat at

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can I put my pet in my will?

By: Pete Glocker/DMCC

Boca Raton, FLA --- Have you ever wondered what to do with your pet if you suddenly passed away? Who is going to take care of it? What if it gets sick and needs medical attention? Who is going to pay the medical bills? Who is going to pay for routine shots? These are many questions you may ask yourself in thinking about this confusing topic.

Stated in an article on, the Uniform Trust Act of 2000 does not allow you to will property to an animal per se, but it allows you to set up a trust for the continuing care of your pet. The Act itself is an example of the increased recognition of animal interests.

As of right now, there are roughly thirty-one states that now recognize pet trusts. These trusts allow for the owner to name a pet as a beneficiary and to name a trustee to take care of the pet.

Make plans for your pet.

According to an article written by Eileen Ambrose of The Baltimore Sun, it is important that people make plans for what will happen to their pet. And whether they end up creating a pet trust, setting money aside in a will for care or use some other means, the issues owners face will be similar. For instance, pet owners need to find a caretaker and someone to manage the money left behind for the pet’s benefit. Usually the same person handles both roles. Look for someone who is responsible, capable of handling money and likes animals.

Other suggestions in the article encourage you to:

• Name one or two backups in case the trustee cannot fulfill the job.

•Make sure there is enough money to cover pet expenses.

• Write a care plan, basically a memo detailing the veterinarian’s name.

• Include in the care plan the pet’s routine, medications, likes and dislikes.

Drafting a Trust

You will want to include specific information in the trust.

• The name and address of a trustee and an alternate trustee.

• The name and address of the caregiver and an alternate caregiver. (It may be beneficial to name the same person as the trustee and the caregiver)

• Detailed information on the identity of your pet. (microchip or papers)

• The standard living and care you wish for your pet.

• A detailed description of the property that will fund the trust.

• Information on how the remainder of the trust should be distributed once your pet dies.

• Instructions on the final disposition of your pet’s body.

According to an article by Richard Willing of USA Today, the average amount left to pets is about $25,000. It was also stated in the article that according to a 2000 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association that Americans own roughly 68 million dogs and 73 million cats. The impulse to protect them after one’s demise has always been strong and, for some, overwhelming.

Pete Glocker is employed in the Education and Charitable Services Department at Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. (“DMCC”), a 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization located in Boca Raton, Florida. Pete graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Multimedia Journalism and was a web producer Intern for Tribune Interactive products and DMCC provides free financial education, personal budget counseling, and debt management plans to consumers across the United States. Debt management plans offered by DMCC help consumers relieve the stress of excessive debt by reducing credit card interest rates, consolidating and lowering monthly payments, and stopping collection calls and late fees. DMCC financial counselors can be reached for free education materials, budget counseling and debt management plan quotes by calling 800-863-9011 or by visiting . Pete Glocker can be reached by email at

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to Recognize a Neglected Cat

by Morgen Marshall

Many people think their cat's behaviors are because the cat was abused or neglected. I want to clear this up for you. Abused cats are rare. Most cats are just wary of strangers. Bad behavior is usually because they were never taught correctly or played with aggressively. So, how can you identify an abused or neglected cat? Let's look at what cat abuse and neglect look like and then we can talk about the cat's responses:

Cat Abuse can be intentional or unintentional. Usually, unintentional abuse is called "neglect" and is addressed by humane societies all over the world. There are actually three levels of abuse. Neglect, Over-Discipline (over use of discipline tools) and Intentional Abuse. This article addresses the Neglect, which is the most benign form of abuse.

Description of Neglect

Neglect means not addressing the animal's primary needs for survival - water, food, shelter, rest and hygienic elimination. Then there is the more severe type, where a cat is forced to live in filth, confined to a cage all the time, or denied companionship with people or other animals. Many times, this can be caused by not spaying or neutering your pet. Unwanted kittens, or too many cats, is the primary cause for almost all of this type of abuse. Sometimes, a person is too ill or has allergies. Maybe a person is trying to keep a cat in an environment that makes it impossible to properly care for a cat.

I remember many years ago, seeing a homeless man walking down the street with his belongings in a shopping cart. Homeless people were harder to find then, so he stood out. He was pushing the cart with one hand and had a carrier with a cat in it, in the other. I felt sorry for both, but being a child, I didn't know what to do. The cat was experiencing neglect, but felt much love. The man, I'm sure, didn't know he was doing harm to the cat. He just knew that he couldn't let his beloved cat go into a shelter - at that time all the shelters I knew of were kill-shelters.

An older cat (over a year) has little chance of coming out of a kill shelter. Most people want a kitten. The grown cats are often given no more than 2 weeks to find a home and then euthanized. This heartbreaking situation often occurs when people lose their homes, develop allergies or find that they just don't want to deal with the discipline and behavior problems that developed in the cat. The single biggest reason people give up a cat is inappropriate elimination. Next, come allergies, followed by death of the cat's owner. Some cats are surrendered because the person moves and is unable to find pet-friendly accommodations.

I understood the man's feelings of love and concern for his feline companion. I also understood that the cat couldn't live in that carrier for long. There was no safe place for them. No homeless shelter would take a man with a cat. In this case, I think the abuse is unintentional - neglect, by description. However, I think the heart of both the cat and the man were in the right place, just that the situation was unfortunate.

In news reports, we sometimes hear of breeding farms where cats are bred to the point of exhaustion and kept in sub-optimal conditions. We hear of people who just keep bringing home strays until they are over-run and can no longer take care of them, and the cats become a neighborhood problem. All of these situations can produce neglect.

Now, let's turn to the cat's response to neglect. How does a cat respond? Why does it do that? By understanding the specific situation and response, we can address the resulting problem behaviors with love, patience and training.

Effects of Neglect

A cat left in a cage with other animals nearby is often skittish and afraid of people. It expects food and a clean litter box on occasion, but cuddles and attention may make it uncomfortable. These cats often have no privacy issues in the cage, but once free, they are very private about their litter habits. If the cat was kept in a small carrier, it may soil itself, or hold back elimination until it is very uncomfortable. It may be dehydrated and need medical attention. The cat will be overweight from lack of activity. It may be apathetic when play is offered, not knowing what is expected. Electric lights may be something that set off a fear response in the cat because it means that people are coming. In other cases, darkness may be scary at first. Once the cat's eyes adjust to the light level, it will be all right, but when the lights are turned off or on, the cat may cry or hiss. In the case of a cat kept in the dark except when people are coming, it may be fearful the entire time the lights are on, while also expecting food, water and a clean litter box to be provided.

These cats don't do well with handling. The less you try to pet, hold or cuddle these cats at first, the better. Let the cat come to you. It will, given time. Be sure to care for it's creature comforts - food, water, bed, clean litter box - but don't expect a cuddly cat for a while. That will come when the cat feels that it can trust you. It may be afraid of the sound of your feet on the floor. It may run when you come into a room. As time goes on, the cat will stay and just watch you. Another time, you may be able to approach and offer a scratch behind the ear. Eventually, you will be able to give a full cuddle. Do not try to pick the cat up, but you can pet it and the cat won't run away or feel assaulted. When the cat responds with a purr, an offer of a cheek or an ear, or you can stroke the spine and the cat isn't trying to run away, then you have a cat that is only cautious of you. Continue until the cat comes for cuddles, which may already be happening. Still do not try to pick the cat up. If it wants your lap, it will come. This cat may still run from you if discovered in a windowsill, on a dresser or surprised in the litter box. Say your cat's name in a conversational tone and the cat will eventually not run away and perhaps allow a stroke. In the case of the litter box, just say the cat's name, but never try to cuddle a cat in the litter box. If you can provide a privacy screen, the cat may stay in the room.

These cats need socialization. They need to learn to live with others outside of a cage. They need gentle discipline and may not know the meaning of the word "no." They will love feeding time but be afraid if you need to walk near their food bowls, and run from the food. Give them time, move slowly and talk gently in their vicinity. They need to learn what people are about in a good way.

Once your cat has learned to trust you a little bit, enough to not run away when you enter a room or even starts to come to you, then you can begin to bond with your cat. A tickler wand is your best friend for this. Gently shake the wand so that the end twitches. Your cat will be interested, but may only watch at first. If your cat goes for it, excellent! When your cat gets hold of the business end of the wand, allow your cat to feel the success by keeping the wand steady for a few moments. When the cat lets go, you can start to twitch it again. The cat will play with you in this manner for quite a while. When the cat tires, put the wand up out of the way so that your cat is forced to play with you, not just the wand. If your cat grabs the wand in it's mouth and tries to run away with it, offer resistance and don't let go of the wand. Some cats want to take the wand and hide it under a couch or in a corner so they can worry over it for a while. Don't allow this - the cat needs to play with you, not just the wand. After about ten days of playing with the wand, you will see your cat become more accepting of its new circumstances. Your cat should assimilate into the household well. There may be people it does not accept, and those persons can also play with the cat to promote bonding.

Under no circumstances should you perpetuate the abuse or neglect! Any discipline needs to be done gently and with care. A squirt bottle, long a favorite tool for discipline, should only be used in the beginning stages of training, while the cat is learning the word "no." After that, you should not need it. Redirection is your best training technique. When your cat gets into or expresses interest in something that you don't want to see it getting involved with, redirect it's attention to something that it is allowed to be involved with or have.

Some of these cats can be clicker trained, but the bond with the person needs to be present, first. Concentrated training to condition the cat to the clicker will be needed. Some cats may be so skittish that even the best treats will not condition the cat to the clicker. If your cat runs from the clicker after a week of conditioning, do not continue. Your cat will never be comfortable with the unexpected noise it makes. You are better clapping your hands and saying "no" to stop bad behaviors than trying to clicker train for positive behaviors.

These cats will be extremely grateful for good treatment. One expression of that love, biting, may not be acceptable - especially if the cat bites hard and uses the canine teeth. Push your hand or finger into the mouth instead of pulling out so that the cat will not be able to bite down and cause you injury. You can push in hard enough to cause the gag reflex, but never harder. Never cause the cat injury in response to an injury to your person. Hitting is never acceptable - but raising a flat hand so that the eyebrow whiskers can feel it is acceptable.

If you must pick up your cat, as in putting the cat in the carrier or removing it to another room, pay attention to the cat's body. Be sure to pick the cat up by the ribs and the hind legs at the same time to minimize stress to the cat. If the body is stiff, don't hold the cat to your chest. Allow the cat to struggle, but stay out of the way of the claws. When you place the cat down (don't let it jump), stroke its back if you can. Talk to the cat. It will stop a few paces away and look at you. The cat may come to you for a scratch if offered. Always talk softly and lovingly to your cat.

With all these admonitions and dos and don'ts, you may think that a neglected cat is too much trouble. Not that much, really. They take some time getting used to people, but once they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart, these cats will come to love you very much. The early stages with a neglected cat are the most critical. After that, you may find a loving, caring, demanding cat. Demanding because it may never want to be separated from you. Demanding because whatever it was denied before it will crave from you. Moreover, you will be loved, very deeply. It will care about you in its fashion. If your are down or blue, possibly sick, the cat will worry over you and try to find a way to comfort you. These cats are very responsive to their people. Hypersensitive is a good description. Empathic is another good description of their behavior. Some cats even approach a symbiotic relationship with their people.

Give love and patience, and love and patience will be returned. Give concern and care and those are returned. A neglected cat is one of the best pets for a single, older person. The cat will be tuned to that person in short order. It will give love and affection to ease the loneliness and loss these people sometimes experience. When the person is ill, the cat will understand and be there to comfort, while allowing the person to care for him or herself.

Morgen Marshall, an online Cat Whisperer, helps people who love cats live in harmony and health with the cats in their worlds. She counsels cat owners and cat lovers from all over the world at her website
For the Love of Cats

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Understanding Cat Arthritis Symptoms - Caring For An Arthritic Cat

By Moses Wright

The increasing amount of cat owners feeding highly processed commercial cat food is reported by many veterinary experts to be a contributing factor in the increasing amount of cat arthritis happening in cats.

It is certainly not coincidence that owners who feed their cats homemade and raw food see lower occurrence of degenerative arthritis in their cats.

Today, although there are no concrete proof to show that commercial cat food contribute to arthritis development in cats, it is widely believe that they play a big part, From there, we understand that your cat’s diet would play a major effect in preventing this stressful cat disease.

Apart from diet, overweight older cats are also more likely to develop arthritis because of the extra pressure they put on their joints causing the cartilage and bones to wear off faster. Naturally, a cat who enjoys a healthy diet and who exercise regularly will be less likely to suffer from the same condition.

The symptoms of arthritis in cats would be that he will find it difficult to walk around and run. Moving around stiffly, he will not make jumps that he use to make and will have difficulty in climbing up stairs. Showing signs of depression, your cat would hide away and appear listless and even bad tempered. Not allowing you to touch and stroke him in areas where he is painful, he might cry out if you touch him on a painful joint.

To diagnose arthritis in cats, veterinary will observe, use blood test and most importantly the x-ray examination. The X-ray will show joint degeneration in areas of worn, irregular bone position and possible distortion of the joint and see if the bone is causing pain and forcing the cat to stand in an awkward position to compensate for the discomfort.

Arthritis treatment will include medication to help your cat ease the pain on his joints, to aid the regeneration process of cartilage and bone, to build up the fluid within the capsular joints to provide a cushion for the joint itself. Your veterinary will prepare dose of glucosamine and chondroitin that are use for the same purpose in humans for your cat.

You can help your cat to recover by encouraging him to walk whenever possible to prevent the joints from stiffening further. You should try to create a warmer environment for him to rest. A warm water bottle place under his bed might do the trick. The warmth will help your cat to ease pain and loosen his muscles which might be tense because of the constant pain that he is suffering.

Recovery from arthritis is possible with the right treatment and care. Although a hundred percent recovery is not possible, your cat will still be able to enjoy a high quality of life.

About the Author: Moses Wright is a webmaster of and he provides more information on Cat Health, Cat Veterinary Diseases and Cat Illnesses Symptoms on his website.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Should Cats Drink Milk?

In the movies, cats love a bowl of cold milk. In the real world, giving a cat milk can do more harm than good.

While milk might seem like a natural choice for your cat, the truth is that cow's milk offers no nutritional value for cats, and it can cause digestive problems in many. The reason is that most cats develop intolerance to lactose shortly after they are weaned. This means that they are unable to digest the sugars that occur naturally in milk. This causes problems that include diarrhea and other unpleasant digestive problems.

Some people think that cats need to have milk in order to get all the necessary nutrients. This is not true. In fact, cow's milk does nothing to meet a cat's nutritional needs. If a cat was fed only milk, it would not be able to survive. Feral cats provide proof that cats do not need milk to be healthy, as wild cats do not usually have the opportunity to drink cow's milk.

As long as your cat is eating a high quality food, and has access to clean fresh water, she is getting all that she needs. Milk alone is not a sufficient diet for any cat, and should never be given in place of food OR in place of water. Replacing a cat's food or water with milk can cause your cat to become malnourished.

Many cats do seem to enjoy milk, and this causes a dilemma for many cat owners who love to give their cat treats that they enjoy. While most cats are lactose intolerant, some are not. For these cats, milk as an occasional treat is fine. The only way to know how your cat will react to milk is to feed her some. If she does not develop diarrhea then it is safe to assume that she is not lactose intolerant, and you can continue to give her the treat she loves. Again, milk should never be given in place of food, but as a treat.

If your cat IS lactose intolerant, but still seems to crave a bowl of milk now and then, there is a way to satisfy her without upsetting her digestive system. Milk substitute that is specially formulated for cats is sold in most pet food stores. Like regular milk, it should only be given as a treat and not as a replacement for meals. Even if you feed this "cats milk" on a regular basis, a high quality cat food and fresh water should always be available. Another option for lactose intolerant cats is to give lactose-free milk. This milk is available in the same aisle as regular milk in most grocery stores.

In addition to cat's milk, there are a lot of other ways to treat your cats to special food.

If your cat normally eats dry food, give her some wet food once or twice a week as a special treat. Many makers of dry cat food also make wet food, so you can stick with your favorite brand if that is important to you.

Another way to treat your cats is to find ways to make their dry food special. Pet stores sell special gravy that can be poured over dry food. Several flavors are available, so you can offer your cat a variety to keep her from becoming bored with her food. Another version of this is to pour the water from a can of tuna over the dry food. You can also feed your cat some tuna, in place of wet food, as an occasional treat.

Take a trip down the treat aisle at the pet store, and you will see row after row of treats. While most of them are fine for your cat, keep in mind that treats should be given as such, and should not be fed to your cat in excess as this can cause an unhealthy weight gain.

Kittens, unlike full grown cats, DO need milk, but the milk they need is their mother's. The mother's milk is full of all the fat, protein and antibodies that a kitten needs to grow and survive. Until a kitten is weaned, approximately four weeks after birth, a kitten should have only milk. NEVER give a kitten cow's milk. Obviously, the ideal milk is that from the kitten's mother. If this is not possible due the kitten being abandoned or orphaned, you will need to feed a substitute that should be available at your local pet store. The kitten will need to be fed this milk substitute several times a day. While the pet store personnel can probably answer most of your questions about caring for abandoned kitten, you should consult a veterinarian to be sure that the kitten is getting exactly what it needs.

The bottom line is that milk is not necessary for a cat, but as long as she seems able to tolerate it, an occasional bowl isn't going to hurt.

About the Author:David Beart is the owner of Our site covers cat information, household finances, family, recipes and other household issues.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why You Should Consider Herbal Products For Your Cat

By: Greg Hall

Cat owners everywhere are choosing to pamper their loving feline companions with all-natural herbal products instead of conventional veterinary medicine. The holistic philosophy teaches that a natural diet and lifestyle are best for sustaining a healthy, long life. Herbal holistic medicine was popularized for use in people, but it didn't take long for cat lovers to begin taking care of their feline friends in the same manner. Herbal products are being successfully employed to treat and prevent health issues targeting cats. Holistic treatment utilizes natural products from our environment instead of synthetic medications. It also treats the animal as whole, as opposed to focusing on one specific area at a time.

Herbal products to take care of your cat typically come in liquid or powder forms. You can mix the product with food, feed it to your pet with a dropper, or mix it in their water dish. Herbal products exist for every ailment and chronic condition your cat might face. There are also herbal products which serve as vitamins to promote general health for your cat. Holistic veterinary practitioners have discovered herbal remedies for your cat for everything from dental hygiene to intestinal health.

For example, if your cat suffers from anxiety when going to the vet or traveling in the car or any other potentially stressful events, there are herbal products which will soothe and relax it. If your cat suffers from allergies, there are herbal products designed to ward of the symptoms. There are herbs for your cat to help it maintain healthy teeth and clean gums. For upset stomachs and digestion problems, give your cat an herbal product made just for such issues. Herbal products will aid their digestion, relieve gastro-intestinal inflammation, and improve their bowel movements. Tonics are available which will stop chronic vomiting. To make sure your cat has healthy eyes, you can find herbal products to help their vision. Herbal remedies exist to help your cat deal with the itching, swelling, and pain from the bites and stings. Herbal products for the skin and fur maintain coat health and decrease shedding. If your cat has joint pain and inflammation or circulatory problems, there's relief in the form of an herbal product made just for such issues. Even the seemingly unavoidable hairballs can be eliminated with laxatives and all-natural organic herbs.

Aging cats can be rejuvenated with herbal remedies. An herbal remedy which targets the thyroid gland can help when your cat has become chronically sluggish. These remedies will make your cat more alert and lively. Such herbal products also improve their coats and will address weight issues. Since overweight cats have more health problems, keep your cat slim with an herbal product designed to help them lose weight. Cats commonly experience urinary difficulties, and there are herbal products which will relieve them of such troubles. Another issue commonly afflicting older cats are joint problems. Have no fear, there's an herbal product for your cat which will have her springing onto countertops in no time.

So you may be wondering what exactly is in all these new-fangled herbal remedies. Well, being all-natural you have nothing to fear. These medicines contain well-known ingredients such as dandelion, milk thistle, garlic, echinacea, and gingko. People have been taking these so-called new remedies for centuries, and now you can give them to your cat. In addition to herbs, these holistic products may also employ mineral products such as silicon dioxide, which is a natural dewormer and gets rid of other parasites as well. Another interesting substance employed by holistic veterinarians is lignite. Lignite is a by-product of the coal industry which is not only safe for you cat, but it serves as a detoxifier that helps your cat eliminate harmful chemicals. Contact a holistic veterinarian for further information to find out more about improving and maintaining your cat's health with holistic herbal remedies and nutritional supplements.

About the Author:Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as feline herbal products at

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Normal Signs of Aging in Senior Cats and Dogs

Like most of us, our companions move a little slower as they age. While certain medical problems are more common as our friends grow older, many changes that take place are simply the signs of a more laid-back time of life and are not a cause for concern. Still others can be red flags that need further investigation. The normal changes of aging usually occur slowly over a period of years. Rapid alternations in your pet's physical or emotional state may be a sign of a medical problem and should promptly be evaluated by a holistic veterinarian.

Physiological Changes

Diminishing Eyes and Vision

Vision diminishes in our companions as they age, though usually not enough to cause them any significant problems. A common change as animals grow older is a clouding in the eyes called nuclear sclerosis. Cats and dogs with nuclear sclerosis usually see well despite the clouding. Cataracts and glaucoma are serious medical problems that can lead to blindness and are more common in certain breeds like cocker spaniels and poodles.

Hearing Loss

A decrease in hearing ability is normal as our companions age. In some instances, the loss of the ability to recognize sounds is severe and animals may become more aggressive. The aggressiveness is usually because they are startled when someone approaches since they cannot sense them until they are very close.
Hearing loss usually cannot be reversed, but changes in the way you interact with your companion can help. Teaching your companion hand signals, or to recognize that lights flashed on and off mean certain things will improve communication. Though hearing may decrease, sensitivity to vibration doesn't change so clapping hands or stomping on the floor can be used to get their attention. Also, make every attempt to approach your senior friend from a place where they can see you, rather than moving close to them while outside of their field of vision.

On a personal note, true hearing loss is different than what I call selective hearing loss - as when I want to walk in one direction and Dexter, my 13 year-old Rot-Shepard mix selectively doesn't hear me calling when he wants to go a different way!

Skin and Coat

Our companions go gray too! Older dogs will start to show gray hair around their muzzle and eyes. Cats are less likely to show gray than dogs, but both may experience a thinning and dullness of their coat as well as dryness and thinning of their skin. While these are normal changes of aging, they can be a sign of disease or nutritional deficiency. Fatty Acid supplements can help reduce itching and hair loss and keep coats full and shiny.
Calluses on the elbows are commonly seen in older dogs, especially large breeds. This is normal and giving your friend a soft and warm place to rest will help alleviate any discomfort.

Brittle Nails

Nails tend to become brittle and can break if allowed to grow too long. More frequent clipping is usually necessary because older animals tend to be less active and subsequently there is less wear on the nails through activity.

Teeth and Gum Disease

While some wear and yellowing of the teeth and retraction of the gums are normal as our companions age, dental problems including cavities and gum disease are common in older cats and dogs. Even by 3 years old 80% of dogs show signs of dental disorders. Routine dental care, including tooth brushing and professional cleanings will keep dental problems to a minimum, and it's never too late to start.

Hardening of Mammary and Prostate Glands

Hardening of the mammary glands is common in older female dogs and cats as the glandular tissue is replaced by fibrous tissue. Breast cancer is more common in unspayed dogs and changes other than a simple, generalized firming of the breast tissue or nipple should be evaluated. Prostrate enlargement is common in older unneutered males. It is rarely cancerous but can cause problems with urination or defecation.

Behavioral Changes

Other than desiring more downtime and rest, two common behavior changes are cognitive dysfunction and separation anxiety. Cognitive dysfunction is the animal equivalent of Alzheimer's disease, and separation anxiety is a general nervousness in your companion when they sense you are about to leave.

Older cats may spend less time grooming and a slight decrease in this behavior is a normal part of the aging process. However, if your cat begins to develop an unkempt appearance, stops grooming altogether, or becomes lethargic, a holistic veterinarian should evaluate him or her for an underlying medical problem.

Like people, older animals become somewhat set in their ways and do not like change. Keeping a steady routine is important, and changes around the house like moving furniture should be done gradually.

Reduced Activity

Our companions tend to be less active as they age. In most cases this slowing down is normal and simply the result of the desire to take life a little slower. However, decreased activity can be related to other problems like arthritis, which causes pain and decreases mobility, or the decrease in muscle mass that is a normal part of aging. Regular, though less strenuous activity will help keep joints loose and muscles strong.

Temperature Sensitivity

As our animals age their ability to regulate body temperature changes. This usually manifests as difficulty keeping a normal body temperature at extremes, for example in very hot or cold weather. It's important they have a warm place to rest when the temperature is cool, and a cool place when it is hot - please don't wait until your old dog starts panting excessively to move him into the shade.

Increased Thirst

Old dogs and cats will drink more water. This is partially due to a decrease in kidney function that is normal with aging. However, excessive thirst can be a sign of diabetes or renal failure and should be evaluated by your holistic veterinarian immediately.


Our companions truly do not want to soil in the house or outside of the litter box, but changes in bladder function and intestinal motility can make it difficult to hold urine and stool for longer periods of time. More frequent trips outside for your dog, or two litter boxes at opposite ends of the house or on different floors for your kitty can prevent accidents. If you have a contained yard area consider installing a pet door so your companion has access outside. Using doggie diapers, such as

PoochPants, can also be a solution for dogs who have to be inside for extended periods. HomeoPet's Leaks No More naturally helps tighten-up weak muscles to stop unwanted urinary leakage. Leaks No More is safe, effective, and as easy as placing the tasteless drops directly into the mouth, on food, or in water.


Changes in intestinal motility-the amount of time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract-can result in constipation and hard, sometimes painful bowel movements. Adding an

Essential Fatty Acid supplement, Enzymes, and Probiotics to your companions diet will improve the functioning of the intestinal system by helping it to better utilize the nutrients in food, and by assisting it in eliminating waste. Enzymes and Probiotics also aid in the elimination of hairballs in cats. A change in diet, including the addition of bran or psyllium may also be helpful. Be certain plenty of fresh filtered water is always available.

Other Important Changes To Watch For

Nutritional Requirements

This topic is frequently overlooked, but incredibly important to the well-being of a senior dog or cat. Like us, as our companions age their calorie requirements decrease-dramatically! Basal energy requirements decrease by about 20% because of a general slowing of bodily functions. Decreased activity diminishes energy needs by another 10% to 20%. If calorie intake remains the same, obesity results. As for us, obesity is a major health problem for older dogs and cats. Feeding a high quality diet and using proper portion control is key to keeping weight in check. Consult with your holistic veterinarian on the best diet and proper feeding amount.

Changes You Don't See

We don't see many changes that occur in older animals, yet knowledge of them is important so we can understand what is normal and what may be a problem.

The functioning of the immune system of older animals decreases and they may become more prone to infections. It is important to address those little cuts and scraps that were not a problem when they were younger. The addition of colostrum to a senior's diet can be very beneficial in supporting the immune system. Bovine colostrum was used in the United States, and around the world, to treat immune disorders prior to the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics. Herbal tinctures, such as Animals Apawthecary's IO Immune Blend, boost the immune system without compromising digestive flora and can be used systemically to treat many low grade infections.

Heart function decreases, and while generally not a problem because activity level has decreased, strenuous activity like when they were younger should be avoided. Exercise in extreme heat and cold should also be avoided due to older animals' temperature sensitivity. Ask your holistic vet about Best For Your Pet's Kidney & Heart Glandular.
Lung volume and function decrease, and like a decrease in heart function is generally not a problem, however, very strenuous activity should be avoided.

Kidney and liver function also decrease which leads to a decrease in the ability to remove impurities and waste products from the blood. Like other changes of aging, these are not usually a problem unless an illness stresses their body.

Animals' Apawthecary's Dandelion/Milk Thistle Tincture stimulates and protects liver function in an animal showing signs of liver stress or toxicity. Their Detox Blend gently assists the body in correcting chronic skin problems and other imbalances that may be related to liver dysfunction or poor waste elimination. Detox Blend is safe for long-term use. Additionally, Animals' Apawthecary's Senior Blend strengthens functions of the nervous, digestive, circulatory, and immune systems of older cats and dogs. It is often used as a tonic in animals with diminished kidney function.

Please Note: Kidney stones, renal failure and other urinary problems can be life threatening so it is imperative that you consult with your holistic veterinarian if you suspect any of these conditions.

A Final Word

Get Regular Check Ups

The symptoms of many medical problems can present as normal changes of aging when in their early stages. It's important for our senior companions to visit the holistic veterinarian every 6 months in order to diagnose and treat any problems before they get too far along.

Slowing Down with Grace

Aging gracefully is as important to our companions as it is to us. Knowing what is normal and what is a potential problem can help us maintain a very high quality of life for our senior friends. Keeping our companions mentally and physically active helps ward off the impact of old age and keeps them dancing gracefully into their golden years.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Herbal Help with Internal Parasites

by Marian Brown

Internal parasites--more commonly known as worms. As in all health care, prevention is one of the best offenses and defenses. In the case of internal parasites, total prevention is almost impossible.
The most common internal parasites are round worms and tapeworms, both of which are divided into several varieties and each enters the system through a variety of ways. The main paths of infestation are: from infected ground/soil, stagnant (or in some cases even running) water which other animals have access to, the milk of an infected mother (very common and easily passed to the young) and from fleas.

Fleas are very often the carrier of certain species of tapeworm and cause a multitude of what may seem to be never-ending cycles of kill the fleas--kill the worms--kill the fleas--kill the worms--etc... As pets often scratch at fleas by biting, they ingest the flea and thus the worm, now beginning the deworming cycle again.

As one can see, this constant cycle can quickly bring a healthy animal's system down, which in turn can lead to further health problems. And, in reviewing the ease at which pets can (and are) exposed to worms and fleas it is easy to see why total prevention is highly unlikely. A simple walk in your own enclosed yard provides several avenues of exposure...the birds which are in your feeder, the birdbath, rabbits that raid your garden, or a common mouse may all be potential carriers. (We won't even discuss the walk through a park!)

But, being able to keep the presence to a minimum and avoiding high levels of infestation is possible and relatively easy to achieve with the use of good diet, exercise and the addition of herbs.

Historically, herbs have been used to treat parasites in man and beast alike. For severe cases of internal parasites, consult a professional for guidance and proper dosages/treatments. There are also several homeopathic remedies available and Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide offers a method of herbal treatment.

For basic prevention, one of the most common and almost universally recommended herbs is garlic. Garlic is reputed to have a great repelling effect on both fleas and internal parasites. It may be difficult to get your pet to eat raw garlic, however, in the capsule form, it can be easily taken and sprinkled on the pet's food.

A common "American" treatment is the use of pumpkin seeds. Several ounces of dried pumpkin seeds can be mixed with water or vegetable juice to form a mash. This is eaten, then two-three hours later is followed by a dose of castor oil to drive the worms out. Care must be taken to be sure the entire worm is expelled. Tapeworms very often come out in small segments, leaving the head to reinfest again. This treatment may have been common due to the fact that ancient people recognized that worms' activities are influenced by the cycles of the moon. The worms became more active and thus less embedded when the moon is waxing, therefore, according to belief the best time for actually worming treatment is just before the full moon. (Reference The Complete Herbal handbook for the Dog and Cat by Juliette de Bairacli Levy).

In our more modern times, pumpkin seeds are available in powered capsule form, which like the garlic can be safely sprinkled in with pets' food. Elecampane and Black Walnut have also been historically used to rid body systems of parasites. Black Walnut extract has also been used externally for skin parasites including fleas and ringworm.

In more recent times (1974), a study conducted at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethedsa, Maryland, found that lapachol--an extract from the bark of Pau D'Arco trees--is quite useful against parasite infection. (Reference Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, 1992).

Remember, herbs are foods, not cure all drugs. The Herb Book by John Lust, list over 45 herbs which have been used for internal parasites in both humans and animals. Every body system is different and every herbal combination is different and supports the system in a unique way. Please take the time to learn about herbs and the different ways they can support the various systems.


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Friday, March 7, 2008

Cat Chat - The Communication Between Cat Whisperer and Felines

By Kelvin Westly

A cat whisperer is a person who communicates with cats better than other cat owners. But they communicate so much better with cats such that their conversations are sometime what we called as a cat chat.

They are just people who are lucky enough to have a cat show up at their doorstep. Plus they are very successful with that cat.

Many a times, cats such as the black cats and alley cats will "knock" at someone's door and decided to move into their homes. The reasons can be many, such as being abandoned or just taken a liking for that particular person's house.

Many people will assume that a cat whisperer is being regarded as a therapist for cats, as they can understand the felines about their needs and wants as if they are having a conversation with them all the time. Plus, most of the entire whisperers did not go through any kind of training but they just know it naturally.

Abused or mistreated felines have been traumatized and will not respond to anyone other than a cat whisperer. Others who wanted to help the cat will only make matters worse by making the cat feel scared and afraid.

Cats that have been mistreated previously will not trust anyone so easily. They are often traumatized and confused and they feel pain just like humans do. You can always know which cat is being physically abused by the sight of it. But emotionally depressed felines can be perfectly healthy but emotionally, they have been wrecked. Thus, they are harder to understand, especially if they are strays initially.

Conversely, the whisperers can communicate with both physically and emotionally abused cats via their special "cat chat" ability. Cats instinctively know who can be their cat whisperer - one who they sense trust with. Felines are familiar with cat whisperers, but they are unknown to most people. Although a cat whisperer can communicate better with cats, time is still the catalyst to help heal the abused cat.

Kelvin Westly is a caring and passionate cat owner. You can discover more about cat chat and cat care tips at: Cat Care Secrets Revealed

Get a Free minicourse and more cat chat, cat care and training tips, visit:

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Cat is not Eating and I Need Help!

By David Faulkner

If the cat is not eating the cat health, some time’s becomes poor. The reasons vary as to why a cat may not eat properly, but for the most part, a healthy cat will eat and remain in good health. A cat that does not eat may have some sort of health problem that prevent the cat from eating or reduces the appetite. Sometimes cats have
health problems that cause this type of problem such as digestive tract problems, tumors or infections. These problems need medical attention.

A psychological problem similar to what people have is anorexia. Cats also develop this problem for other reasons than what people do, but the results are the same. I cat who does not eat needs to be under the care of a veterinarian to receive the proper care. In most cases, this condition results from another medical condition.

Some Causes That Account for the Cat not Eating

Although it is thought that cats can have signs of anorexia, there may be other reasons why cat health and not eating happen. Any conditions such as painful teeth, sore mouths or throat, tumors, kidney or blood disease and skin problems along with eye problems can result in cat health problems for not eating. As we discover more about our cats, we see that fear of pain is their only problem. For more info see on Health Persian Cat Problem.

Cats also do not like change and will sometimes refuse to eat because they do not like the food. Some cats become so finicky that they refuse to move to a new place in the house to eat. A new pet may cause the cat to go into hiding, causing them not to come out to eat or go to the litter box. Cats need reassurance and then they can overcome any cat health eating problems and sometimes a visit to the vet may be required.

Treatments for Cat Health not Eating Problems

One treatment is more or less psychological. You need to remove the problem, if not health related, in order to get the cat to eat. If you have a new pet, get them together and once they get used to each other the problem should be resolved. There must be a solution to the problem and with a little thinking of when the problem started, you can correct the problem.

If the cat health not eating problems are medical, you need to seek medical care to correct the problem that causes a lack of appetite. This might include medication, surgery or placing the cat on a new and healthier diet. If your cat has no medical problems, the vet may introduce intravenous feeding to help bring the cat back to health. You may have to hand feed the cat in order to establish a healthy eating routine.

Not all cats come this finicky, but some breeds are worst than others. If you need help, a vet will offer suggestions for treatment even if the cat health not eating problem appears to only be psychological and not medical.

About the Author: You can also find more info on
Cat Stricture Colon and Cat Symptoms Of Kidney.

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