Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What to do when your yard suddenly sprouts bouquet of kittens

SPRING traditionally marks the beginning of kitten season, and you may soon be surprised to find a litter of tiny felines in your yard. It could be your first hint that a stray or feral cat is living nearby.
What can you do to help the kittens survive? First, find out whether the mother cat is still around. It's always best to keep the mother and kittens together, so she can care for them during the crucial first weeks of life.

If possible, bring the mother cat and kittens indoors, where they'll be safe. Confine them in a small room or a large cage in your basement or garage. Provide food and water for the mom and let her take care of the kittens until they're weaned, or ready to start eating regular cat food.

Another alternative is to let the mother care for her kittens where you found them. The trouble is that mother cats tend to move their babies around. Encourage the little family to stay put by making the location as attractive and comfortable as possible. Supply some shelter and provide food and water every day.

If the kittens have been orphaned, they will need a lot more help from you. Bring them inside and check their condition. They should be alert and warm to the touch. If they're cold and listless, warm them up right away. Put the kittens in a box or pet carrier with a heating pad set on low. Put a towel over the heating pad and make sure the pad covers only half of the bottom of the box.

The kittens must be able to move off the pad if they get too warm. Don't try to feed them until they warm up. It's dangerous for kittens to eat when they're chilled.

Kittens typically start to eat regular canned or dry food when they're four to five weeks old. Younger kittens have to be bottle- fed. Don't use cows' milk -- it causes diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration.

Kitten milk replacement formula is available from a veterinarian or pet store (premixed liquid is easier to use than the powdered form). Depending on their age, kittens need to be fed every four to six hours around the clock.

To prepare the bottle, pierce the nipple with a pin or slit it with a razor. Test the formula on your wrist -- it should be lukewarm.

Kittens less than four weeks old also need help with elimination, a job that a paws-on mom cat would normally perform. You should encourage them to urinate and defecate after feedings by gently swabbing the anal region with moistened washcloth or tissue, and by rubbing their stomachs.

They should also be burped after each feeding; hold the kitten against your shoulder and gently massage its back.

Caring for orphaned kittens is no small job, but it can be a lifesaving labor of love. Many extremely young kittens that end up in animal shelters have to be euthanized.

The average shelter simply doesn't have the staff and resources to care for kittens that must be bottle-fed 24 hours a day. Your help may be the kittens' best hope for surviving until they are old enough to be altered and adopted.

For advice on caring for orphaned kittens call The SF/SPCA Feral Cat Assistance Program at (415) 554-3071.

And remember, spaying and neutering is the best way to reduce animal overpopulation.

Dr. Jeffrey Proulx is the director of veterinary services at the San Francisco SPCA. If you have any questions about dogs or cats, write to him at The San Francisco SPCA, 2500 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103, or e-mail him at . To find out more about the SF/SPCA, check the Web site at

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Reiki Therapy Should Make Your Cat Purr

by David Bates

Reiki is derived from the ancient Eastern form of energy therapy which has now become accepted in the West as a legitimate form of alternative medicine. Although normally associated with the treatment of humans it has grown in popularity as an option for treating pets especially cats that seem ideally suited to this form of therapy.

Vets, who are legally the first port of call for sick pets, have become increasingly willing to refer owners to reiki practitioners when they are asked.

Cats often receive regular grooming and become used to and enjoy being touched, this makes them suitable when any treatment involves being physically touched by the therapist. If your cat does not enjoy being touched by strangers many therapists will use a non "hands-on" approach. The reiki energy can be transferred by the therapist if they place their hands just above the appropriate healing points. Reiki can even be administered from a distance where the therapist is not even in the same room, this is particularly useful in the case of nervous cats fearful of strangers and even those that may be old and fragile.

Cats seem to enjoy the experience of reiki and appreciate the flow of healing energy they receive from the treatment and will react very well to it.They enjoy the informal atmosphere and will often receive treatment relaxing in their owners lap.

Reiki for your cat is a gentle non invasive, powerful type of healing, it can help your cat bringing about balance which can help to boost their immune system, it gives them energy to recover after an illness or operation It can just be a calm and relaxing experience. which can also help stressed and nervous animals or those with behavioral problems. Reiki treatment is very successful in treating muscular aches and pains , back problems and strains. It will reduce stress, anxiety, nervousness and enhance the skin or coat of your pet. A reiki session for most animals usually takes about 30 minutes, but this will depend on the nature of the problem your cat is suffering, often one treatment can be enough, or further treatments may be necessary these will usually be shorter.

It is worth remembering that i f you intend using Reiki therapy for your cat that, in the UK , any sick animal must be taken to a vet, so a ny reiki therapist working with animals will need a referral from a veterinary surgeon in order to treat your pet legally.

David Bates is a complementary therapy specialist from the UK ; he has an interest in several natural therapy sites including:

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Killing Bald Eagles...but The FDA Says It's Safe For Pets!

By Susan Thixton

What you are about to read is something that is very startling - and have probably never heard of before. As shocking as it might be, it is something that you should know before you feed your pet it’s next meal.

A very disturbing fact of pet food comes from FDA testing. The FDA has determined that pentobarbital, the drug that is used to euthanize animals - is commonly found in many popular pet foods. You did read that correctly. Pentobarbital, a euthanizing drug, is in some popular pet foods and treats and according to the FDA is safe for pets to consume.

A few years ago the FDA released a report of a two year study - finding pentobarbital common to many pet foods and providing results of an 8 week study to determine if it could be harmful to U.S. pets. Their findings - again from an eight week study - was that it was safe for our pets to consume pentobarbital in pet food.

My first concern is that this testing was only done for 8 weeks. No consideration was given to pets that are consuming this euthanizing drug in their food for a lifetime. Unfortunately, the concerns don’t stop there.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency recently reported that pentobarbital is responsible for the deaths of “over 140 Bald and Golden Eagles in recent years - as well as numerous other wildlife and dogs.” The reason the wildlife was exposed to pentobarbital - as stated in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency report, is from access to euthanized carcasses of farm animals and small animals in land fills. Poisoning of eagles or other wild birds, even if accidental, violates Federal law.

The FDA has made changes requiring pentobarbital labeling provide information of environmental hazard - the product is toxic to wildlife. New labeling requirements also added “Do not use in animals intended for food.” Yet pentobarbital is still legal to be included in a pet food.

Pets are consuming pentobarbital as you read this. Even though the FDA’s new labeling clearly states the drug should not be used in animals intended for food - pentobarbital is still found in common pet food ingredients. And not that I have already given you enough to be concerned over, the next worry is how pentobarbital could be found in pet food. Rumor has been for many years that pentobarbital is from euthanized dogs and cats from animal shelters all across the U.S. being rendered - cooked - and end ingredients of the rendering process are put back into pet food. Pet Food manufacturers adamantly deny these claims stating the species source is from euthanized cattle and horses. The FDA has done testing trying to clinically prove the species source - pets or livestock - no clinical proof has ever been provided to the pet owning public.

The possibility of euthanized dogs and cats being cooked and put into pet food is horrendous. We might not ever learn the species source of the drug. The FDA does provide us with the information that the common pet food ingredient ‘Animal Fat’ is the ingredient that is most likely to contain pentobarbital. Please carefully look at the ingredients in your pets food and treats for the ingredient ‘Animal Fat’. Since no testing has ever been done on long term effects of consuming pentobarbital, and we know consuming the drug is killing wildlife - this is a risk too serious to ignore.

Before you feed your pet one more meal, please see Susan Thixton's website and learn many more secrets of the pet food industry. Also please sign up for the free Truth About Pet Food newsletter.
pet food, dog food, cat food

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cats and Dogs - Is Your Home a War Zone?

By Rena Murray

Some of you out there have seen the zany film, "Cats and Dogs." It is perfect for a lot of laughs over stylized antics in the classic war of "cat vs dog" if you are in the mood for something completely silly and off the wall.

But on a serious note, many dog owners who also have cats under the same roof really do seem to have a cat vs. dog war going on daily. It is scary when you do not know how to make Dog Spike and Cat Mike coexist.

Will Spike really hurt Mike? Or does Spike just chase and pester him?

What if Mike scratches Spike? Will things escalate?

What to do?

The truth about cats and dogs who were not raised together is that you may never be able to make them love each other. But here's a step-by-step process for at least bringing peace, a d├ętente of sorts, into your home, and to protect each pet from the ravages of attack.

The first step is for you (Dog Spike's pack leader) to tell Spike that Mike is now part of the pack. Put Spike on a leash with the leash on the most sensitive part of the neck, the way they do in dog shows.

Crate the cat (never the dog for this). You cannot accomplish your goal if they are both in pet crates. That just results in a classic cat dog face off - a barking and hissing match.

Crating is especially important if the cat has a tendency to move away or scratches. You cannot let the cat run away from the situation. Running away encourages a chase, and certainly does not encourage a harmonious pack!

Sit or lie Spike down beside the crated Mike. Correct Spike with a firm (not harsh) pull UP on the leash, if he lunges at Mike or becomes fixated on him. If Mike scratches or hisses at Spike, correct him, too, but with something like a water pistol.

Move the cat's crate toward Spike and take his leash off. What you are teaching Spike to do is to ignore the cat and to respect him.

Next time, repeat the first part of making Spike sit or lie down by the crate. This time, do not make the cat (crate) come to him. Instead, make him lie down beside the crate, off leash, until he stays there with his head turned away. Acceptance with avoidance.

When Spike is cool as a cucumber around Mike, take the cat out of the crate and put a lead on him so he cannot run. (Still have Spike on leash, and pull up on the leash if he makes a mistake.)

If Spike lunges, no panic. Simply put the cat back in the crate and make Spike sit or lie down next to it, all over again.

Finally, with Cat Mike out of the crate but on leash, bring leashed Dog Spike to him and make the dog lie down. Correct the cat with a water pistol if he hisses or scratches at the dog. Stay there until the cat has accepted Spike, even if the cat is sullen and pouting a bit.

Do this as a step-by-step process, nice and easy. Before long, the classic battle between cats and dogs will be over in you home. Spike and Mike will be peacefully co-existing.

Dog Obedience Trainer - Dog Behaviorist, Rena Murray, dares to tell it like it is! Growing up with the Horse Whisper, avid wolf pack studies, Pit Bull and other dog training, Rena solves "impossible" situations, e.g., teaching an old dog new tricks, solving dog dominance and dog destructive behavior, even stopping a Doberman attack in mid-launch! Available for Consultations, Rena blends the best of the Dog Whisper and other techniques to each specific situation and will bring fresh insight to yours. See Rena's Expert Articles and subscribe to her FREE Ezine at and comment on Rena's BLOG -

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Senior Cats have Senior Moments Too!

by Kate Tilmouth

The increased availability and advances made in animal care and medication has now afforded our pet cats a much longer life than ever before. It is not so unusual these days for a cat to live well beyond 16 years of age and as much as we benefit from having our pets with us longer, it does give rise to some health problems associated with the older cat.

Just like us humans the senior cat will encounter general wear and tear on their bodies and general changes to their lifestyle, such as stiff joints, loss of appetite, sleep changes and other age related illnesses. These changes will start to become apparent to the cat owner after the pet reaches the age of 10 and often the first signs are general slowing down and becoming less active in their day-to-day routine.

However it is not just physical changes that could affect the senior cat, mental abilities may also be affected. A condition known as cognitive dysfunction syndrome or CDS can affect older cats and is similar to the human illness of Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms include becoming generally confused about where they are, who you are and forgetting where the litter tray is etc.

CDS can be quite a distressing situation for the cat and will often cause changes in the cat's behaviour. Examples of some of these behaviours are:

1. Pacing around a room as if they are unsure where they are and are exploring it for the first time, or going from room to room looking for food and or the litter tray. 2. Loud persistent meowing, especially at nighttime. Again this is thought to be because the cat is unsure of their surroundings and is calling out in distress or for your attention to reassure them. 3. Being either over clingy to their owners or becoming more wary or changing their behaviour towards their owners.

In these situations, medication may be able to be prescribed by the vet to calm the distressed cat, but also the cat owner can help by reducing the amount of rooms the cat has access to so that it is less confusing for them and playing soft quiet music in the room where the cat is may help to reassure them my providing extra reassurance especially at night time.

Cat owners also need to be aware of other changes to their elderly cats behaviour and needs to be able to provide the right care and comfort for their pet.

Litter Tray habits may change due to the cat's inability to climb easily into it as they once did due to arthritis or stiff joints. By making sure that several litter trays are provided around the home with at least one low side will make it far more convenient for the senior cat to use them.

Appetite issues may arise die to the fact that elderly cats may have a reduced sense of smell. This is important to a cat to stimulate their appetite and desire for a particular food. Changing food brands regularly and feeding only wet canned food, which is the most pungent is the best thing a cat owner can do for their old cat. Pouring a little hot water onto the food will also increase its smell. Sleeping patterns may change as well. These changes can either be an increased amount of sleep and activity carried out by the cat, or being awake all night pacing the house and meowing. In either case there is not much a cat owner can do but to try and encourage gentle play with a ball for the lethargic cat to try and increase their alertness or to be sympathetic with the night time cat and try to confine them to a cosy comfortable room during the night.

As with any change in cat behaviour old or young it is always advisable to get them checked by a vet to rule out any underlining illness that may produce similar symptoms. But if your senior cat is pronounced fit then just old age will have to account for their lifestyle changes and allowances will have to be made to make it easier for your cat to live a normal comfortable life.

About the Author
Kate and her partner co-write a site full of further cat care and cat health topics. As well as being a feline friendly community site for happy cat and a happy owner.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Use Catnip if Your Cat is Stressed

Did you know that catnip can help you to de-stress your cat? Two thirds of the feline population possesses an inherited gene which is responsible for producing the classic feline reaction to catnip. This article contains some guidelines.

By Tricia Craggs

Did you know that catnip can help you to de-stress your cat? Two thirds of the feline population possesses an inherited gene which is responsible for producing the classic feline reaction to catnip.

The 'catnip effect' is caused by a volatile oil in the stems and leaves containing the chemical Nepetalactone. This chemical appears to minimize a cat's inhibition. It creates a feeling of euphoria that can last for about fifteen minutes. However, catnip is very safe for cats, with no side effects, and is not addictive at all. Overuse of catnip, though, can cause a cat to eventually become immune to the effects.

The 'catnip effect'

When a responsive cat comes into contact with catnip, she will sniff it, lick it, roll in it, bite it and rub her head and chin against it repeatedly, purring, growling or meowing, and even leaping about. Many of these movements imitate those seen when a cat is in heat, leading to one theory that catnip is a female feline aphrodisiac. However, the fact that male and female cats react in the same way to catnip casts doubt on this.

Using catnip to improve behavior problems

1. Catnip is very good at relieving stress and tension. This makes it a very useful tool in dealing with stressful situations you may have to place your cat in. Examples of this would be taking your cat in the car with you, moving your household, or perhaps having company in the house that frightens your kitty (like small children when your pet is unused to them). Catnip will help in any situation where your cat is uneasy.

2. Catnip can be used to help a very timid or frightened cat become more confident. You may be bringing home a new timid cat or perhaps have rescued a scared one from a cat rescue shelter; catnip will almost always help it to react in a more positive and friendly way. It will be easier to get it to play with you - which is a great start to making it feel at home with you, and less anxious.

3. If you are trying to encourage a cat to play more and be more active, (perhaps after an illness) try some toys containing catnip. Cat toys containing fresh catnip are more effective than ones which have been around for a while. The fresher the catnip, the more the reaction.

4. If you have more than one cat in your home, be careful not to introduce catnip to them all at the same time. Some males may have a tendency to cross the line from friendly play to dominant aggression while they are under the influence of catnip. By keeping them separated, you can assess the effects of catnip on each one and avoid any possible confrontations. If they react in a friendly manner, then they can all play with catnip together.

To conclude, remember not to overuse catnip or the effects will eventually diminish as your kitty becomes immune. Catnip is easy to grow, so use fresh catnip in catnip toys as much as possible. Although, even after a catnip toy has lost the catnip odor, cats will still play with them, but more from habit. Catnip is a herb which is harmless and non-addictive to cats, both wild and domesticated.

About the Author:

Find the best tips on using catnip to improve your cat's behavior by visiting

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Herbal Products for Kitty

By Renske Buursma

Many cat lovers want to pamper kitties with natural, holistic herbal products instead of conventional store brands or even at times, costly veterinary medicine. The herbal practitioner focuses on natural diets and lifestyles as the preferred foundation for your cat’s optimum health and age for your cat. Here are tips to help with choosing herbal products for kitty:

1) Herbal products and treatments like those for treating and preventing health issues for pets, feature natural products from the environment instead of man-made materials and medicines.

2) Many herbal products for pets are offered in either liquid or powder forms. You puy them and then either mix the products with food, give them to your pet with a dropper or syringe, or you can mix it with liquid like water.

3) There are herbal products that act as treatments for a variety of ailments and chronic conditions, some that are vitamins for promoting good health, some for dental care, for relieving constipation and other medical conditions. There are also herbal products for cats that have allergies, and cats that needs calming – like before heading off to see the veterinarian, pet groomer or before traveling in cars or airplanes. OYu can also find herbal products to help with vision care, and teeth and gum cleaning.

4) Try a herbal purifier to detoxify your cat’s system, relieve your cat’s diarrhea and help with soft stool issues and diarrhea relief. Try digestive relief herbal products for upset stomachs or weak digestive systems with your kitty. And check out gas relief herbal products to help with digestion, to relieve inflammation (of digestive tracts) and to help with intestinal issues, gas pain and pressure.

5) For itch relief, try skin and coat herbal products. And for joint pain and inflammation plus good circulation, seek out herbal products for joints.

6) To help with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea due to motion sickness, seek out herbal products for motion sickness relief. To help kill parasites and aid your kitties’ digestive system, seek out help from herbal products to help, too.

7) Check into getting Echinachea in herbal form to help your pet’s immune system and to help fight off infection.

Regardless of your pet’s situation, when in doubt, ask first. And make sure to read directions thoroughly before giving herbal treatments and other products to your pet. Always think safety first for your pet!

About the Author: Renske Buursma, pet store owner with lots of helpful articles and a free newsletter about pet care at

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008


If the right definition for the term “Intelligence” would be “the ability to acquire and remember information and the capability to use them while solving different problems”, then the cat is definitely the most intelligent animal from all those surrounding us.

Try to put an adult cat in a room in which she has never been before and see how she is inspecting every corner of that room. This detailed search gives her valuable information about the environment, information that can even save her life in some cases. Actually, the curiosity specific to cats never harmed them, on the contrary it gave her the reputation of having nine lives!

We all know that the ability cats have to inspect surroundings is legendary, but, at the same time it has been proven that this ability is superior to that of any other domestic animal.

The intellectual capacity of the cat is demonstrated by her ability of using information she already has to pass safely through certain situations. Cats are capable of forming “learning methods”, a characteristic that was supposed to belong only to primates.

Cats learn through observation, imitation, trying and of course, mistakes, just like people. The stories with cats being able to open draws or cupboards are many, but there also are cats that can turn on the lights or use the toilet, and this is possible only by carefully observing the ones that know how to do these things, their owners.

Considering the fact that the cat is the most intelligent domestic animal, it is very important that the owner knows very clearly the limits of her cognitive processes, because conferring the pet human motives can cause damage and behavioral problems.

For example, a cat cannot reflect upon the past or think in perspective, so punishing her for something she has done only minutes earlier is useless, because the cat is not capable of connection the punishment with her actions. The same way, cants can’t claim revenge for a past punishment.

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the intelligence of your cat! Try and know better your pet and act in such a manner that living together can be a benefic experience for both of you.

About the Author:

Ken Charnley is a personal finance enthusiast with dedicated to quality information on online loans. For all your online loan needs visit and Apply For Loans Online

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