Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Popular flowers a fragrant pet-killer

By Kasha Stoll

Special to The Capital-Journal

Lynn Zoeller loves lilies. She also knows they are extremely dangerous to cats.

According to the National Animal and Poison Control Center, Easter and tiger lilies are toxic to cats regardless of sex or age.

"Cats can be poisoned by ingesting one or two leaves or flowers," said Wilson Rumbeiha, assistant professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University.

He warned that symptoms could start within 30 minutes and include depression, vomiting and loss of appetite. Acute renal failure starts at about 48 hours.

Since the toxin hasn't been identified and there is no antidote, Rumbeiha said the mortality rate runs between 50 percent and 100 percent. The chance of survival increases dramatically, however, if medical treatment is begun within the first six hours after ingestion.

Dr. Emily Wood, a veterinarian at Burlingame Road Animal Hospital, 3715 S.W. Burlingame Road, said it is crucial for the cat to vomit out the toxins before the kidneys are affected.

If necessary, the veterinarians will use activated charcoal, she said. Following that, the cats are placed on intravenous fluids at a rate two times that of daily maintenance levels.

Prevention is the best medicine, however, and Zoeller, a florist with Custenborder Flowers, 1709 S.W. Gage Blvd., recommends two options.

The first is to keep the lilies away from the cats.

"Keep it in an area where the cats can't get to it," she said. "Put it in another room and shut the door."

Diane Barnes, a volunteer and a board member of the Cat Association of Topeka, said cats don't like the smell of citrus. She suggests laying orange peels on top of the dirt in potting plants, or spraying the plant's leaves with Bitter Apple, a product that doesn't hurt the plants but keeps cats away.

The second option Zoeller recommends is getting fresh plants that aren't toxic to cats. Daisies, pansies and tulips are good springtime choices.

Kasha Stoll can be reached at CAS_KLS@yahoo.com.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Timid Cats

Larry Chamberlain

Nervous cats hide from people, they do not readily present themselves for petting, and may seem downright scared of you.

Probably, this was not exactly what you had in mind when you decided to get yourself a pet. So, is it at all possible for nervous cats to overcome their timidity and learn to trust you? The answer is yes, but you will need patience, patience, and patience.
It is usual for a kitten to be cautious and timid for the first week or so in its new home, but some kitties remain nervous of you no matter how loving and caring you are to them. Kittens that spent the first weeks of their life in the company of humans and other pets, along with the associated sounds and smells, are far less likely to be nervous cats. They will accept sharing their living space with humans more readily, and be more likely to accept petting. Your cat may have had a nasty experience before coming to your home, and is naturally apprehensive of a reoccurrence.

One way to gradually get a nervous cat used to petting is to gently wrap your pet in a thick towel, to prevent it from scratching you, and gently stroking its head. Talk to your cat
softly as you do so, and only use a light grip never hold your cat extremely tight. Set aside a time each day to perform this bonding ritual and your shy cat may grow to trust you enough to
stroke it without the towel, remember patience pays.

Great results have been obtained by owners of nervous cats by using a pet crate. Cover the sides of the crate with card or a blanket so that your cat can see through the front but still feels protected. Put the litter tray in the crate and perhaps your cats favorite toy. Start by using the crate in a room that humans are not using, but from where your cat can hear the sounds
of the house. Then, move to a place where the humans of the house can be seen carrying on their normal activity, talk to your pet soothingly. Gradually your cat may learn that there is no threat
to it from you, and you may achieve enjoying your cat's company outside the crate without any sign of nervousness.

Bribery can often work wonders with nervous cats. Try a offering a tempting healthy treat, if your cat is hungry enough to overcome its fear and stay still to eat its treat, stroke it gently, don't make sudden movements! You may have to persevere, but often your pet will eventually accept and enjoy your petting.

Never lose patience, and remember that your nervous cat is not rejecting you, it is just an in built protective reaction to something that has given kitty cause to be wary of humans. Love
and perseverance will often win the day, and you will be rewarded by your cat's affection.

Larry Chamberlain is a lifelong cat lover and webmaster of http://www.best-cat-art.com Cat art posters, art prints, cat calendars and cat collectibles. Great cat gifts for yourself or your cat loving friends

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Cat Health News from the Winn Feline Foundation: Probiotics for Cats

Cat Health News from the Winn Feline Foundation: Probiotics for Cats

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Go Orange Photo Contest

In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, we’re asking everybody to go orange for animals. And when we say everybody, we mean everybody—including your four-legged family members! Dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs…all species look great in orange! So get out your pet’s favorite orange outfit, grab your camera and send us your best shot! The top ten winners will receive an ASPCA Prize Pack, and will also be featured on the ASPCA website.

Click here for more info: http://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-april/go-orange-photo-contest/

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What to do about Cat Scratching the Furniture!

Nani, a regular reader asked me about her kitty Kaline's scratching obsession with the loveseat and as it happens I do have a couple of suggestions. First, apply a layer of double sticky tape or bitter apple spray to the area you don't want Kaline to scratch. I've never personally used the bitter apple spray I've just heard it works. I KNOW the double sticky tape works. Tin foil works as well. Cats do NOT like the feel of tape/foil on their paws and will not sharpen their claws on something unpleasant to them. Its a texture thing. Foil has no texture and tape is obviously sticky. Kitties LOVE things with texture. You can also use a Kitty Off spray (I found this at Petco). It does have a bit of a nasty odor until it dries which is just minutes but the downside is you have to keep re-applying it every day until the habit is broken. Usually several weeks. Kitties also do not like citrus odors. Lemon scented sprays, popourri or even orange peels applied to the area will also help deter Kaline.

You will also need to remove her scent. There are scent glands in her face as well as her paws that help her mark her territory so use a pet odor remover to remove her smell from that spot. Natures Miracle products come to mind on that one.

Put the post where she goes to scratch. Scratching is a territorial behavior usually done in a "family area". It shows other people and animals that this is her territory and BACK OFF! There are only 3 rooms in my home that do not have a scratching post! Spray your scratching post with kitty "feel good" pheramones like Feliway brand. You could also use catnip either the spray or just rub it on. I know some cats just aren't into catnip so Feliway would be a good alternative. Personally, I would use both. Attach toys to the post. The idea is to send a clear message to Kaline that this is hers and the loveseat is not and to make the post irresistable to her.

If all else fails a squirt bottle of water when catching her in the act will also get the message across.

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