Friday, May 10, 2013

Find fellow feline film fanatics

Your inner feline film fan can now be proudly brought into the open. You know you're not alone when the art community puts together a feline film festival.  This weekend, the Oakland Art Museum will follow the footsteps of the famously hip Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis when it got some 10,000 visitors to watch funny felines at a big screen outdoors where they can be viewed with a audience.  No more need to sneak views privately.
How would you like to see this on the big screen?

Check out the history of the feline film movement at Yahoo News: Feline Film Festival

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Your housecat may spend much of the day lounging around,
but would love to chase down a rabid bat that invades your home.

As dog owners are fighting with the California Legislature about requiring 12-week-old puppies get rabies vaccines, cat owners are still allowed to decide when—and if--their pets are protected from the deadly virus.

In late April, a law (AB 272) proposing that the age at which dogs must be vaccinated against rabies drop from 4 months to 3 months passed the Assembly and is on its way to the Senate, with dog organizations scurrying to get opposition to the law for a variety of reasons, including health risks associated with multiple vaccinations for young pets.

But there still remains no law in California requiring pet cats receive a rabies vaccination. Curiously, cats may be at higher risk to actually encounter rabies in California. However, the historic fact that human rabies has been almost eliminated in the past 100 years due to vaccinating our dogs.

While dog-owners are rallying to fight the legislature, cat owners should check their records and make sure their pets are protected. Why? Because bats are the biggest risk of transmitting rabies. In 2012, some 227 rabid bats were reported to the California Department of Public Health. Many times, bats get into homes and bite sleeping humans, who don't even know they have been bitten, increasing the risk of human rabies because it is transmitted through saliva.

The majority of those rabid bats where in Southern California: 54 in Los Angeles County, 17 in Riverside County, 15 in Ventura County and 14 in Orange County.

In that same year, only one cat was reported as having rabies. However, if a bat got in my home, my dogs would bark but it is my cats that would try and catch it. Catch it, get bit, get rabies and die-- not the scenario I want for my fluffy friends. That's why my cats are vaccinated for rabies. The second highest reported rabid animal in the state in 2012 was the skunk, with 16 reported. A skunk in our yard would certainly get the attention of the dogs, but is a bit big for the cats.

So far in 2013, bat reports are only 11, but there has already been one cat reported—and no dogs.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): “Rabies is an increasing threat to cats. At the present time, the number of reported feline rabies cases in the United States far exceeds that of all other domestic animals. Rabies in cats is also a major public health concern. Because of the routinely fatal outcome of infection in cats, and the potential for human exposure, rabies vaccination is highly recommended for all cats; it is required by law in most areas of the country.” See:

To determine when and how often to vaccinate your cat, consult your veterinarian. But don't be fooled into thinking that because your cats stay indoors, they don't need rabies—bats do and will come indoors. If that happens, grab your vaccinated cat and run. Bats may be interesting, but they will be happy to share their rabies virus with both humans and pets.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can second hand smoke affect my cat?

Can Second Hand Smoke affect my cat?

Ah, the age old question and the answer; a simple one. Yes! Cats exposed to second hand smoke have a greater risk of developing feline lymphoma, a deadly form of cancer, than cats not exposed (feline lymphoma kills 3 out of 4 cats infected within the first year). Cats can also develop respiratory problems, lung inflammation and asthma as a result.

There are 4,000 chemicals in second hand smoke, 43 of them are known to cause cancer.

You may be asking yourself, “but how can it affect my cat?” Cats are constantly licking themselves; when exposed to second hand smoke, they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur. This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membranes of their mouth to the cancer-causing carcinogens.

There are other dangers that can occur even if you don’t have any smokers in your household. If a cat ingests a cigarette or cigar butt, nicotine replacement gum or patches; drinks water that contains cigar or cigarette butts (which can have high concentrations of nicotine) it can be deadly to your cat’s health!

So for the health our feline friends; stay informed!

Be safe and have a purr-fect day! Until next time!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loose Stool

As an avid cat lover, you probably already know what this title means; soft, stinky bowel movements splattered all over the litter pan or worst, your carpet!

The bad news: loose stool is a common symptom in cats. Food changes, infections, prescribed antibiotics are common causes.

The good news: most cases are mild and resolve themselves. Awareness of the causes and treatment of loose stool can help you be better prepared when loose stool strikes.

A healthy cat should have solid stool that comes out in formed pieces; stool that is soft and mushy rather than being properly formed constitutes what we call, “loose stool.”

An abrupt diet change can give your kitty the runs; so can dairy products, since contrary to popular belief, many cats, like us humans, are lactose intolerant. Because a cat’s emotions can easily translate into physical problems, a stressful event; a change in your schedule, or a move to a new house, can trigger loose stool.

Your cat may experience loss of appetite and sometimes blood may be present in the stool. Make sure to provide plenty of water sources to increase your kitty’s water intake and to help prevent dehydration.

Loose stool can also be associated with certain parasites, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disorders and systemic conditions such as, thyroid disease.

Feed your cat high quality, commercial grade cat food or a well balanced all natural diet that contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Remember that cats are carnivores and need a high protein diet.

Consider adding a probiotic; such as, lactobacillus, the “good bacteria,” found in yogurt. Fortiflora is an excellent source of live, active probiotic cultures. Unflavored canned pumpkin, which is full or fiber, is a great way to firm up stools and to some kitties, it’s quite tasty.

Never give any medications, including over the counter human medications, to your cat unless under strict instructions by your veterinarian. Common over the counter remedies such as pepto bismol and Imodium, while safe for you, can be deadly for your cat; inappropriate use of people medicine can make cat very sick.

If you cannot cure your cat’s loose stool with a controlled diet, fiber supplement or probiotics, you should take it to the veterinarian to be checked for worms, or other medical causes. The veterinarian can pinpoint the cause with examinations and tests and prescribe the proper treatment.


Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Silent Killer"

It’s National Pet Dental Month!

Thanks to advancements in dental health, cats can live a lot longer these days, but
to have a good quality of life in those later years, they must have healthy teeth and gums.
Most cat owners are not aware of their kitty's teeth conditions; unhealthy teeth and
gums are prone to infections that can spread to the rest of the body and if that happens, it
can be painful and expensive.

One of the first signs is an offensive mouth odor; another sign is a change
in your cats’ eating habits. Since it hurts to chew, your kitty may sit by his/her food dish
but not eat. Weight loss and a decrease in grooming are some physical sighs you may
notice as well as loose or even missing teeth.

It has been reported that periodontal inflammation and infection have been linked to
numerous health problems including heart disease, kidney disease, emphysema, liver
disease, osteoporosis, pregnancy problems and diabetes. This has led oral infectious
diseases to become known as, “The silent killer.”

Now for some good news; gum disease is preventable! A good dental care regiment can
prevent gum disease; so it is important that you get your cat checked over at least once
a year. Think about it this way, one human year is equivalent to 5-7 years to your feline
companion. A lot can happen in one year. We humans get our teeth checked every 6
months and we brush at least twice a day; cats use their mouths much more than we do
and most of them don’t brush, let alone floss!

The American Veterinary Dental Society recommends that pet owners follow three basic
steps to help prevent cat dental disease.

Step 1: Get your kitty’s teeth checked. Don’t wait for his/her annual checkup if you suspect a

Step 2: Start a dental care regiment at home. What does this mean? It’s simple; brush
your cat’s teeth regularly. There are products out in the market for plaque and tartar
control in cats, such as dental rinses, treats, toothpastes and foods.

Step 3: Schedule regular veterinary dental checkups. Remember, a clean and healthy
mouth can go a long way and increase the quality of life of our furry feline friends!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feline Chin Acne

I know what you’re thinking. “Feline acne, yeah right;” but it’s more common that you think. Feline acne, chin acne, or kitty acne are all common names for this skin condition that affects our family cat and even the dog. It is similar to acne in humans; its causes can vary, including food and contact allergies, poor grooming habits, over active sebaceous glands and even stress.

It has been speculated that plastic food bowels can also be a cause of feline acne. Plastic is a magnet for bacteria and dirt, which work their way into scratches and nicks, continuing the spread bacteria. I recommend using only glass, ceramic or metal food bowls, and daily washing, in order to help prevent bacteria growth.

But what is feline acne? Feline acne can affect cats of any age, sex or breed; it’s commonly found on the cat's chin and lips. Sebaceous glands secrete oils which lubricate the skin, preventing dryness and irritation. The glands also play a role in territorial marking; I’m sure you’ve noticed your cat rubbing its face and chin along objects throughout your house. Over time, this rubbing will leave greasy patches. In acne, the follicles become blocked with black sebaceous material, causing blackheads. These blackheads may become irritated, swollen and infected, and can lead to pustules.

Treatment varies, but most veterinarians will recommend daily cleaning with an antibiotic soap, followed by a topical ointment, either antibiotic, or anti-fungal.

Severe cases of feline acne may be difficult to eradicate, so you'll want to take your cat to the veterinarian at the first sign of black spots on the chin. Although cats are not as embarrassed by acne as us humans are, the condition is still potentially serious, and not to be ignored.

Always consult your veterinarian if you suspect feline acne and never treat your cat at home with an anti-acne treatment designed for humans.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Introducing Fluffy to Baby

When I first met Sam, now 10 years old, he was in his crib curling his fingers in the fur of his feline "sibling." Some time passed and I next saw him when he was just forming sentences. I walked in the door and, rather than say "Hi," he announced, "This is my cat, Gin." (Short for Ginseng, rather than the beverage.) Sam, who now says he has lived a "decade," has many charming qualities, but his respectful relationship with cats ranks high. He has some challenges getting along with other children, but he knows and understands well his relationship with cats.
Introducing housecats to a family's new infants can have difficulties. The best rule of thumb? Treat the cats like any other new experience for an infant: supervise them at all times. Just as you can't leave an infant alone with a stranger, don't leave them alone with your pet.
There are several helpful guides. Try first introducing your cat to something that smells like the baby--like a blanket or shirt. Also, remember that all pets react to their owners' anxiety, so try to stay calm yourself and avoid creating the anxiety that will make Fluffy nervous.
Check out these articles. "Infants, Children and Cats." In "New Baby and Your Cat," author Gary Loewenthal advises: "Let kitty sniff baby all she wants. Use the power of your calming voice to let kitty know that baby is her friend and not a threat. Have someone give kitty some fun treat rewards. If kitty or baby is too upset, that's okay, just try again later."
The Humane Society of the United States advises: "But before you bring your baby home from the hospital, have your partner or friend take home something with the baby's scent (such as a blanket) for your pet to investigate.
"When you return from the hospital, your pet may be eager to greet you and receive your attention. Have someone else take the baby into another room while you give your pet a warm, but calm, welcome. Keep some treats handy so you can distract your pet."
Pets seem to intuitively know to be kind to babies, whether human or other species. But we can't count on them to know how fragile a baby is or how strong they are. Keep a calm but close eye on things and perhaps, a decade later, your child will be on his or her way to being like Sam.