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Monday Mentions: Blogs, Pet Food & Summer Colds

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Looking for a new friend

Pets make us feel better just by being there…

I’m sick today, urk. No voice. Stuffy head. Feel exhausted. So that’s my excuse for the brevity. I’ve had folks suggest a number of remedies–eat marshmallows to coat the throat and my personal favorite, sip “Hot Damn” (cinnamon flavored schnapps). Need to snuggle with my Seren-kitty and have the Magical-Dawg deliver some chicken soup (but he’ll want to share…). Colds suck anytime, but summer colds are particularly aggravating. Hope y’all stay healthy and I promise, I’ve sanitized the links and suchlike so germ-icity won’t infect you today on the blog.

Do your cats and dogs know when you’re under the weather? How do they act? Do tell.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

New Writerly Production? book a year or more? Is acceleration of content a good thing?

Love Is Murder, check out Sandra Brown’s edited anthology of romantic suspense (pre-orders now available)

Blogging Tips for Writers–FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!

More Blogging Tips–make it EASY to comment plus all about moderation

Author Facebook Pages, why have them?

New Anthology Opps from Margie Yee Webb the co-creator with Dahlynn McKowen for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Cats. And Ken McKowen and Kathy Baker are co-creators for Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Dogs.

Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency has new website with value-added for writers. Meredith was my agent for many years and I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Hyperthymesia and Marilu Henner’s Brain from the awesome Writer’s Forensics Blog of Dr. Lyle

Authors On the Air, a new radio show might be worth a look, suggested by author CJ West

PET SCHTUFF

Cat Food Recalls and Dog Food Recalls expanding. Here’s further info from the FDA.

Small Vet Practices On Way Out? IBISWorld reports veterinarians appear to be gravitating toward working in larger multi-doctor practices. What will this mean for your furry wonder?

Pit Bull Saves Owner, Loses Leg awesome story about a hero dog pulling owner from train tracks

New Hyperthyroid Diet for Cats–miracle or disaster waiting to happen? A veterinarian weighs in.

Dogs Feel Your Pain, fascinating read from ScienceNOW thanks to great pet author Cheryl Smith

Bad Journalism How-To on Cat Declaw from Sally Bahner. Let’s be responsible, folks!

Is Innovative Vet Care Too Expensive? Great post by my colleague Jo Singer. I have to say, the only “hate mail” I ever got about a book took issue with my cutting-edge title and the expense involved. Hmnnn.

SAR Dog Organizations Receive $258,000 In Grants from the AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support & Relief Fund, bow-WOW!

Hogzilla–Feral vs Domestic Pig Brains for those who are really into “this little piggy.” Hmnn, wonder what would happen if people brains took that turn (can you say “weird plot idea?”)

This how-to video is on my new must-do list, since Magical-Dawg loves getting dirty and we have white carpet.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: 12 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

Seren's Valentine Rose
Yes, this is a repeat of a previous blog post but I’ve many more followers since it first appeared. And frankly, I’m at deadline on a number of projects so–DO-OVER TIME! Enjoy!

We love them but cat behavior can puzzle and frustrate owners, making us think we have a weird cat. Does your cat eat weird things? Seren-kitty (above) can’t get enough of roses. Some cats act like battering rams, and pummel their special humans with head butts and body rubs. It’s called bunting behavior, and is one way cats communicate with each other, and their humans.

Why do cats pose in a quirky front-end bow with their nether regions raised? I call it elevator butt, although there’s a more polite technical name for the display. And what’s up with presenting his tail to your face? Actually, your cat’s action is a backhanded compliment and kitty-correct.

Cat with bowl
Do your cats cover their–ahem–creative efforts? Not all cats do this, and some try to cover their food bowl. How weird is that? Especially when they seem to prefer eating plastic.
Myster E. Watching TV 016
Does your cat want to phone home? Is kitty jealous of your time with the telephone?  or maybe they want attention when you’re on the computer? This quirky behavior also has a logical explanation. Learn about 12 weird cat behaviors, why cats do them, and how you can learn to live with them – or even enjoy your quirky kitty’s antics.

What are your cats’ foibles? Every cat is different, of course. My Seren-kitty, for instance, adores Philly cream cheese and has learned how to get the Magical-Dawg in trouble. She just “meow-meow-meows” so he comes running, and then her head spins around and she throws a hissy fit and chases the 90-pound lug across the room. How do your cats express their “inner creative kitty?”

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting.  Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Cat Baths–Are you INSANE?!

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Persian show cats get bathed a LOT!

Tomorrow I get to attend the Westchester Annual Cat Show and schmooze with AMAZING pedigree kitties plus rescue felines needing homes. SQUEEE! The intro of kittens playing in the Ask Amy (below) comes from video taken at last year’s event. And the question for today’s Ask Amy seems quite relevant–cat baths–since show cats get dunked on a routine basis.

Why Bathe Cats?

Lick-and-a-promise Mom-cats who allow themselves to get dingy offer a poor role model and their kittens also will be less fastidious. Illness, poor grooming habits, parasite infestation, or simply getting themselves dingy may require more help than a brush can handle–as with the poor rescue kitty in the video. A bath stimulates the skin and removes excess oil, dander, and shed hair. But bathing too often can dry the skin. As a good rule of “paw” bathe shorthaired cats no oftener than every six weeks; two to three times a year during shedding season should suffice unless Kitty gets really grubby, or is a show cat. Longhaired cats benefit from more frequent baths, and felines appearing in shows learn as kittens to accept baths.

Should you decide to take the plunge–pun intended–your cat should be thoroughly brushed and/or combed ahead of time. All mats must be removed before bathing, because water will just cement mats in place. Be sure to clip claws as well or risk having your clothes and skin shredded as Sheba tries to escape. In fact, to keep your reluctant kitty from figuring out the score and disappearing, perform the brushing routine and claw clipping the day before.

The bath area should be warm and draft free. The bathtub will do, but your knees will thank you for using a waist-high sink. Move all breakables out of reach, and push drapes or shower curtains out of the way or they may spook your cat and end up shredded. For routine cleaning, you only need a simple grooming shampoo labeled specifically for cats. Human baby shampoo or dog products can be too harsh and dry the skin or in some cases prove toxic.

Assemble your shampoo, several towels, and washcloth near the sink or tub, and run warm water (about 102 degrees, or cat body temperature) before you bring in the cat. Some cats like the Turkish Van actually enjoy water, but no cat wants to be forced to do something. Don’t torture Sheba and make her watch your preparations. Instead, save bath time as a (hopefully) pleasant surprise.

Dunking is less stressful than the sprayer.

Cats hate the insecure footing of the slippery surfaces so place a towel or rubber mat in the bottom of your tub or sink. That does wonders for cat confidence and often reduces yowls and struggles by half. Or, try standing the cat on a plastic milk crate, which gives him something to clutch with his paws, while allowing you to rinse him on top and underneath without turning him upside down.

Wear old clothes. Expect to get wet. Seren clutches my shirt, pressing her face to me as I wet and soap the rest of her. She makes sure I get as wet as she does. Also, close the door to the bathing area, or you risk having a soapy cat escape and leave suds and a wet cat print trail throughout your spanking-clean house.

For small cats or kittens, the bucket method of bathing often works best. Use the double sink in the kitchen, two or more large roasting pans, or a couple of buckets or wastebaskets set in the bathtub. Fill each with warm water, then gently lower your cat (one hand supporting her bottom, the other beneath the chest) into the first container to get her wet.

Cruel and unusual punishment?

Don’t dunk Sheba’s face or splash water on her; that’s what gets cats upset. Let your kitty stand on her hind legs and clutch the edge of the container as you thoroughly wet the fur. Then lift her out onto one of your towels, and apply the shampoo, using the washcloth to clean her face. After lathering, dip the cat back into the first container to rinse. Get as much soap off as possible before removing and sluice off excess water before rinsing in subsequent containers of clean water.

Adult cats may object to being dunked, and running water can be scary. Instead, you can use a ladle to dip water. If you have a spray nozzle from the sink, use a low force, with the nozzle close to the fur so kitty doesn’t see the spray. Use the washrag to wet, soap and rinse the face area. Keep one hand on the cat at all times to prevent escapes. Rinse beginning at the neck and down Sheba’s back; don’t neglect beneath the tail or tummy. When the water finally runs clear and you know she’s clean, rinse once more just to be sure. Don’t forget to remove the cotton from the cat’s ears.

Don't let the cat catch a chill!

Wrap the squeaky-clean cat in a dry towel. Shorthaired cats dry quickly, but longhaired felines may need two or more towels to blot away most of the water. If your cat tolerates or enjoys the blow dryer, use only the lowest setting to avoid burning the cat. Combing long fur as you blow dry will give “oomph” to the longhaired coat.

Do you bathe your cats? What does he think of it? What are some tips for keeping the blood-letting to a minimum (yours, not the cats!).

SPECIAL THANKS

This month as a special “thank you” to all my furry-fantastic-followers, I’ll give away a paw-tographed copy of Complete Care for Your Aging Cat and Complete Care for Your Aging Dog. To get in the running, simply post a comment in the blog about your special pet (old fogey or not) and I’ll draw two names at the end of the month. You can use these award-winning updated books as a resource for yourself or wrap up for a pet-friendly holiday gift to a fur-loving friend. And as an EXTRA-special incentive–and to encourage all of y’all to mentor each other and spread the blogging/twitter/Facebook love–the two winners get to name one purr-son who gives them wags of support and deserves a book, too!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting. We’ve become a great community including those in the #MyWANA social network twibe hosted by the awesome @KristenLambTX.  So I’m stealing borrowing Kristen’s methods and creating my own hashtag. Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Kitty Drinking Problem

Some cats will do anything for a treat!

The truth is, cats tend not to drink ENOUGH water, and we humans bend over backwards (OUCH!) to ensure they get what they need. I’ve gone through three “water fountains” with Seren. She’s enjoyed them all and I don’t know that a kitty vote would come paws-down in favor of one over another. There are a number of products on the market and the best option is what works best for your fur-kids. These are the ones my cat has used and enjoyed.

The Pet Mate Fresh Flow (black on the right) was the first cat fountain and I won the product at the Cat Writers Association event. It contains a clear plastic chamber that you fill, and water runs down a smooth cascade into a reservoir. Seren loved this and drank from it for years where it sat next to the sink in my office bathroom. It was a big awkward to fill because the plastic tank had to come out and be filled. After several years (6? 7?) the motor finally quit. The motor had been a bit noisy.

So I quick-like-a-bunny ran out and got a Drinkwell fountain (left, light blue) because–well–it was on sale and I had a holiday gift certificate to the pet products store. So far we’ve had this fountain for about 2-3 years I think and it’s still going strong. The water spits out of the trough and falls with a splash into the reservoir and Seren-kitty drinks quite a bit from this one. The water can easily be replenished by dumping a glass full into the pan. The motor has a constant hum that I’ve finally gotten used to but must remember to shut off when recording a radio show or Ask Amy video.

The latest kitty water fountain is the Cat-It Fresh & Clear Fountain, that the kind folks at Hagen Pet Products sent to me for review. Or rather, for SEREN to review. The water burples up (yes, I made up that word) through a center hole in the canister-shaped device. The motor is nearly silent. Like the Drinkwell, to fill it I simply dump another cup of water into the well. I set it up next to the Drinkwell. For the first week, Seren ignored it, and the Drinkwell water level continued to go down. The next week the sneaky-puss started testing the new fountain but never when I could see her. I know she did because the water level began to drop–but so did the water in the Drinkwell. Several days later, the Drinkwell water level remained constant and the Cat-It burpling fountain clearly got Seren’s vote. She now drinks in front of me but runs when I get out the camera. So you’ll have to check out the Ask Amy video for her other favorite drink-spot.

So what’s your cat’s favorite way to drink? Does s/he have a fountain? Demand a bowl? Kibbitz for milk, or drink from the sink? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Heart-to-Heart About Heartworms

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Anubis portrait

Anubis, a gorgeous kitty who shares life with Karyl Cunningham.

I just completed an interview for Pet Peeves radio show with Dr. Wallace Graham, the president of the American Heartworm Society (stay tuned—I’ll post the link when it goes live). Do you give your cat heartworm preventative? Yes, CATS can get the disease. Seren eats her monthly treatment like a treat. Thank heaven’s for that or I might risk loosing fingers when I pilled her!

WHAT ARE HEARTWORMS

An intermediate host, the mosquito, is necessary to transmit the disease. Although here in Texas we’re in the middle of a drought, you can bet mosquito-vampires find a way to continue to spread their lethal cargo.

Dogs are the natural host, but cats also get heartworms yet don’t develop the same kind of disease. Feline heartworm disease remains an invisible illness despite having nearly twice the incidence of feline “aids” or leukemia virus. The incidence varies across geographic regions but runs about ten to twenty percent that of dogs. Here in Texas, that means feline heartworm disease is much more common where the dog disease tends to be relatively high. And in the Mississippi Delta region there’s a virtual epidemic in dogs—and cats are affected more often, too.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a veterinary internist and senior vice president and chief medical officer (CMO) of Banfield Pet Hospital says, “In our own analysis of data from more than two million dogs and almost half a million cats, we determined that heartworm disease is among the top three disease risks for pets in the southern United States. Education and awareness are vital to reducing this risk.”

Outdoor cats are at highest risk for parasites--even though they LOVE life on the outside! How do you make the outside safe?

HEARTWORM TRANSMISSION

To become infected, a cat must live in an area that has infected dogs, and with mosquitoes that have a taste for both dog blood and cat blood. Dr. Graham says that wildlife also serves as a reservoir for the disease so coyotes and raccoons could put your pets at risk. Heck, the coyotes come up onto my back patio! Even though Magical-Dawg is negative for the disease and takes preventative, Seren-kitty could get heartworm from a single mosquito biting a coyote and nailing her before I could swat the sucker.

That’s right, I said it. A cat doesn’t have to go outside to be exposed. Exclusively indoor cats also get heartworm disease. Dr. Graham mentioned he’d recently diagnosed a couple of exclusively indoor cats in his clinic in Corpus Cristi. Yikes!

Mosquitoes ingest baby heartworms (microfilariae) when taking a blood meal from an already infected animal. The immature parasites spend about three weeks developing inside the mosquito and migrate to the mouthparts of the insect. When the mosquito again takes a blood meal, larvae are deposited upon the skin and gain entrance to the new host’s body through the bite wound left by the mosquito. Once inside the body, the immature heartworm undergoes many more molts and development stages.

KITTY SYMPTOMS ARE H.A.R.D.

The larvae are carried by the blood through the heart to the cat’s pulmonary arteries which almost immediately become enlarged and inflamed. They usually die in cats in about 9 months (they can live 5 years in dogs!) and cause severe inflammatory respiratory problems when they die. This has been described as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD).

Feline airways become thickened, stiff, and inflamed. Cats with asthma symptoms—open-mouth breathing with blue gums—may in fact be suffering from heartworm disease. Frequent vomiting also can be a sign of feline heartworm disease. “The third unfortunate sign we see is the cat is fine this morning, and dead this afternoon,” says Dr. Graham.

HEARTWORM TESTS

Current tests don’t detect all feline heartworm cases. Antigen tests identify the presence of adult female worms. That means cats could have immature worms present, or an adult male, and appear to be safe. Antibody tests can detect very early infections by immature worms–fantastic for our dogs!–but half of all cats that have worms don’t have antibodies against them. Additional chest radiographs and echocardiograms may be needed when heartworm infection is suspected.

A single heartworm can kill the cat, and there’s no cure or treatment for feline heartworms. Instead, veterinarians suppress the inflammation in the lungs and make it easier to breathe using such drugs as prednisone, bronchodilators, and doxycycline. Infected cats usually are put on heartworm preventive so they don’t get any new worms that further complicate their care.

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Even pampered show cats aren't immune.

While diagnosis is difficult and treatment virtually impossible, there are preventive products for cats. The American Heartworm Society provides guidelines and the latest research on its site. They recommend all cats should be on preventative, year round. Start kittens at 6 to 8 weeks of age–there are products that not only prevent heartworms but also control other parasites like fleas so you’re multi-tasking and keeping kitty safe. It costs pennies a day to protect my dog and cat, compared to the expense of treating an infection. And these days, the dog treatment for heartworms is temperarily unavailable.

Losing Magical-Dawg or Seren-Kitty to heartworms is not a price I’m willing to pay.

How about you? What sorts of preventatives to you give your fur-kids? Fleas and tick stuff? Heartworm prevention? Do you prefer the “natural” route or have suggestions how to get the cats to accept “what’s good for them?” There are liquid alternatives and spot ons for some of these preventions. What works best for your pets?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy–Sit On THIS!

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1-B-Seren&books 1-21-08

I am at THRILLERFEST, and surrounded by best selling authors, aspiring writers, book editors, agents and all-things-literary. I am in book-heaven! I’ve already loaded up my tote with fresh hot-of-the-press autographed books to schlep home.

At my house we already have a wealth of reading material. The stacks of books waiting to be read and reviewed, tear sheets of articles to file, printouts from the Internet and “virtual” Ebooks give new meaning to “up to my eyeballs.” So it should come as no surprise that the fur-kids in the family also have a litter-ary bent.

The Magical-Dawg believes his life’s mission includes picking up and carrying stray bits of paper—anywhere—just out of reach of human hands (or waste receptacles). Since moving said waste baskets to second-story territory onto counters, he indulges in less “fishing” for these treats. Hey, don’t judge me…it’s a decorating choice!

The cat is a bit more genteel in her recreational reading. I suspect your kitties also indulge in planting furry nether regions atop any bit of reading material they find. Mostly, Seren targets the newspaper spread across the breakfast table and has an incredible ability to position herself EXACTLY atop the article of most interest. She has great taste.

Blackie Reading Petiquette

"So THAT'S what d*gs (spit!) think!"

Or, she’ll attempt to sit on my book. That’s fine until I reach the end of a page and need to turn to the next, whereupon feline mutterings turn the air blue with Seren’s disgust. Because after all, SHE wasn’t finished reading that page!

Why are cats drawn to human reading material? The Ask Amy video, below, addresses this question, but here are a few more thoughts.

Sitting on a single piece of paper left on an otherwise bare table top doesn’t elevate them much, but has a psychological effect. After all, cats are nothing if not psycho—I mean, psychic. Wait, let me start over.
seren in file basket
Sitting on top of something that hasn’t yet been “scented” by the cat invites her to claim and control that piece of paper/book/whatnot and the surrounding. It’s sort of like leaving a toddler alone in a room with pristine white walls—and a new box of Crayolas. Irresistible! Something’s going to get marked.

kitten on bookcase

"Such big words...where am da pictures?"

Also, when you’ve been reading a particular book, your scent on the cover draws kitty to investigate. If I don’t set it down but hold the book up to read, Seren cheek-rubs the corners of the book cover over and over. It’s a cat’s way of paw-tographing something. When she does that to my Kindle, she “turns the pages” for me.

Adam Stritar's cat Holstein

"I'm the top cat, yep, I am I am!"

Finally, I suspect one of the main reasons cats (and some dogs) insist on inserting themselves into our reading is for the attention. Humans sit and stare for hours at that book/page/paper. The pet can only imagine we’re brain-dead. Magic gets between us and our view of the TV because he knows (of course!) we’d rather look at him than stare into space.

So when a pet gets between you and the words or TV screen, consider it furry intervention to get human attention focused properly where it should be focused.

On them.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: The Devil Made Me Do It!

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I’ve been a fan of Jim’s even before I met him at Thrillerfest a few year’s back, and then got to interview him for this Pet Peeves radio show about his Altar of Eden thriller featuring a veterinarian. So I can’t wait to read his latest Sigma Force novel.

Tomorrow, June 21st, is an all-day virtual launch party of James Rollins’ new book, The Devil Colony. If you’re a thriller lover, then you already know the name–and if you don’t, WOWZER you’re in for a treat!

Yep, that’s right, he’s a VETERINARIAN! A thriller guy who likes puppy dogs and kitty cats, yay! He even has some very cool swag available, with all proceeds benefiting the Humane Society of America (check it out!).

Oh, and did I mention, a thoroughly nice guy willing to talk to unknown wannabe thriller writers–like me. He may not even remember cuz I know he does this so often. But Jim is the reason my pet first aid book qualified me for full Thriller Writers membership when he was co-president with Steve Berry.

Did I already say–WOW!? Oh you devil, you! Just what were you thinking?

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"Devil Colony? Aha! A veterinarian finally wrote a tell-all about your family!"

And nope, he wasn’t under the influence of catnip–I can only think the Devil Made Him Do It. I know from devils. I live with a feline demon who answered to “Devil” long before her real name, because she got called that so often. And in turn, I make that sweet innocent kitty live with a “devil dawg” that’s an affront to feline-icity just by breathing the same air. As a behavior consultant, I deal with furry and human devilish behavior on a regular basis–and then there’s those devilish writing deadlines. Guess you could say the devil makes ME do it, too.

In fact, later today I’m giving a live Webinar on Senior Moments: Quality of Life Issues for Aging Pets (both cats and dogs). Sometimes I wonder if Magical-Dawg will survive to senior citizen canine status, while Seren-kitty is already well into her 9th life.

Let’s turn this devil-may-care c’attitude around and make dancing-with-the-devil a fun nose-thumbing event. Are you up for it? Join the virtual launch party tomorrow and give the Devil his due! Hang out with thriller authors, wear costumes, win prizes. My colleague Kristen Lamb (another Jim-Fan-Girl and a social media genius) came up with the idea so read all about Kristen’s devilish party plans here. You can learn more about James Rollins–the man, the author, the veterinarian–in the video below. Check out his books – here’s the full list.  And for those on Twitter, come party on Twitter at #DevilColony.

A slew of devilishly talented bloggers have already started the party ball rolling, so check ’em out:

Jenny Hansen’s Blog – Friday Devil’s Playground

Danielle Meitiv’s Blog – Digging Taters & Devilish Book Party

Piper Bayard’s Blog – On Life, Belly Dancing and Apocalyptic Annihilation

Tiffany White’s Friday FabOoolous Post on James Rollins

Writers in the Storm – Devilish Fun…A Worldwide Book Launch Party

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Scaredy-Cats, Ask Amy & Why Cats Groom

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Does your new kitten hide under the bed? Do your adult cats disappear when visitors ring the doorbell? Does the new puppy send your kitty into hiss-terics? Learning why cats act scared helps you know how to avoid fear triggers.

Scaredy cats react with fear to unfamiliar people, places or situations, because if they haven’t had a good experience, they assume the worst. Many kittens are clueless, but as the cat matures, this “stranger danger” behavior protects them so they don’t walk up to hungry critters, dogs or people. Find out more about kitty fear and what to do about it in this Paw Nation article about understanding scaredy cats. In fact, some cats that get upset simply groom a bunch and lick-lick-lick themselves bald.

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Most cats are neatniks, and spend up to 50 percent of their awake time indulging in some form of cat grooming. However, grooming is learned by copy-cat behavior during kittenhood. So if the mom-cat is a slob, chances are Junior may get a bit dingy and care less about his appearance. Kittens learn to lick themselves by two weeks of age and are washing by the time they’re weaned. Learn how cats groom–and why–in this article about understanding cat grooming.

Do your cats have unique grooming habits? What about licking you–yep, that’s a cat’s way of sharing the joy of mutual grooming with a beloved human! Just as long as the kitty doesn’t snatch you bald, it can be quite a pleasant sensation. Are your cats neat freaks or do they get dingy and need baths? Have you ever bathed your cat…and lived to tell of it? Of course, there’s lots more cat-centric info in my best selling books Complete Kitten Care and Complete Care for Your Aging Cat….but what did I miss in the Ask Amy video, below? Please share!


I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Cancer Support, Disaster Help & Furry Professional Ops

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Please take me home!

I’ve saved up lots of great info to share in today’s Monday Mentions. First, I had to share some of the puppy-licious pictures from this weekend’s adoption event. The babies mostly slept but finally woke up for some yappy-happy playtime. If you have a dog intent on breaking the bark-a-thon record, the latest puppies.About.com tips for curbing barks may help.

Older dogs benefit from a terrific promotion hosted by Morris Animal Foundation on Sunday, September 18, for a K9 Cancer Walk at the Cove at Concord Park in Knoxville. The event will benefit the Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, an initiative to fund research to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure cancer in dogs. An estimated 50 percent of all dogs will battle cancer. All dog lovers are invited to attend and are encouraged to walk to celebrate the life of their canine best friend or walk in memory of dogs that have lost their battle with canine cancer.

Last week I talked about disaster pet preparation tips on the blog. The ASPCA has worked closely with the Joplin Humane Society and the last I heard, nearly 850 animals have since been rescued__with more than 200 beloved pets being reunited with their families. Here’s one story of a kitty and owner reunion!  Now the recent fires have displaced more families–and animals. Check out this video…and help if you can:

Some might be curious about those initials after my name, C.A.B.C.–that stands for Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (dogs and cats). I’m a professional member of IAABC. This professional membership organization promotes Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) principles in work with companion cats, dogs, parrots, horses and working animals.

In honor of Cat Adoption month in the U.S, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants have a “special deal” for Cat Division applicants. The application fee has been waived for all new members (to all divisions) throughout the month of June–YEEE-HAW!!! President Marjie Alonso writes, “Cats are currently the most popular pet in the United States and  it’s imperative that we support and educate regarding growing need  for feline behavioral assistance and services to help cat owners.  Learn more about joining IAABC here.

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Adopt a new friend, don't wait!

This past weekend I attended a puppy and kitten adoption and am pleased to say several fur-kids found new forever homes. But there are always so many more waiting . . . and after all, there’s still several days left in Adopt A Cat Month.

CATalyst Council is working with American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Petfinder.com to make this June the most successful Adopt A Cat Month® ever! Check out the official website here. Better yet, visit your local shelter this month to take home a new feline friend! Oh, and check out the fantastic how-to video on kitty carrier training at the end of the blog, courtesy of Catalyst Council folks.

Can’t adopt right now? No problem. Consider fostering. Everyone wants to help critters–well, those who read this blog do anyway! But it comes at a cost. Good news! Did you know that your expenses of caring for “foster animals” may be tax deductible?

Unable to foster? One of my fav organizations Alley Cat Rescue offers a brilliant alternative. You can have a virtual adoption and sponsor an ACR office cat or special needs kitty.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Cat Smiles & Book Love

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What's not to love?

How does your cat show affection? There are so many ways–and many times folks just assume the kitty purr says it all. There’s no doubt that cats love us as much as we love them. People who haven’t been blessed with furry feline love have a difficult time believing this, though, because kitties show affection very differently than people do. In fact, some cat behaviors that puzzle, aggravate or even offend people are a cat’s way of expressing undying affection.

My kitty Seren often indulges in what I call “flipping” behavior, where she THROWS herself on the ground in front of me and rolls back and forth while meowing. She also cheek-rubs and head-bonks us–and yes, she purrs. Here are 14 unexpected ways cats show love. What are some other ways your cats demonstrate their affection for you? Please share!

In fact, in honor of Adopt A Cat Month, I will draw a name from the comments posted on today’s blog for your choice of one of the books, below, but there’s a catch:

There must be at least 10 comments to do the drawing–and I’ll choose a winner by Sunday night so maybe the autographed book gets to a Father’s Day recipient on time. Forward the link and encourage your friends to comment so somebody can get some free kitty-book-love. Yes, I’m purrrr-fectly evil! Which brings me to the most recent Ask Amy video, below–enjoy!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!