RSS Feed

Tag Archives: http://www.amyshojai.com

Monday Mentions: Fabulous Flowers, Furry Pet Care & Fantastic Writing Tips

Posted on

Magic in flowers

Last week I mentioned the 500 antique roses around our house? It used to be 700+ but the drought, armadillos and grasshopper attrition left a dent. You cannot believe the aroma! With all the recent rain, we’re fighting with the weeds but it appears the roses are holding their own or even winning. And so are the wildflowers. As promised, some of my favs are shared here today.

This next weekend I’ll be at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference. This is an organization very close to my heart, as I have met some of the most extraordinary writers and friends there, as well as connected with editors and agents. As a result of attending, I ended up writing a Woman’s World pet column for a couple of years, found my agent (we sold 15+ award winning books together!), and also served as contest chair and president. I’m now a life member, wow! This weekend I’ll be moderating a panel on social media. You don’t have to be there, either, to benefit–if you have questions please post in the comments section and I’ll pose them to the panelist and share in a future blog.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the TASTY 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. But first…some N. Texas spectacular-arity because when you’re feeling angst, there’s nothing like a dose of Mom-Nature to set you right.

.
.
.
Paintbrush
antique rose
antique rose
Anitique roses

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Amazon Rewards Content Creators a great post from LJ Sellers

2012 Agents Conference, Writers League of Texas the registration price GOES UP tomorrow (May 1st)

Winners of the 2-12 Edgars Announced

The London Book Fair from an author’s perspective

Writer Beware! avoid this German literary agent and VERY IMPORTANT info on Reversion Clauses in contracts (trust me, authors, you must read this!)

William Bernhardt Writing Programs Best selling legal thriller author’s seminars, workshops and more come HIGHLY recommended (yes, they’re that good). Bill’s also a thoroughly nice guy.

PET SCHTUFF

Big Head Saves Staffie an awesome come-back story about a dog named Diesel hit by car TWICE–from the awesome Dr. Rayya’s Online Vet Journal

Cats Are Con Artists, Dogs Are Sycophants says a new scientific study. Huh? Say it ain’t so, Fluffy…what’s that? Let me fill up your bowl…

39 Pound Cat?! OMG let me NOT fill up your bowl! And here’s more about MEOW the heavyweight kitty and how he came to be where he is today (thanks JaneA Kelley!)

Singer Chris Brown Sells Pit Bull Puppies Online — there are so many things WRONG with this, I don’t know where to start

Protect Cats from Heartworms! According to the website www.knowheartworms.org, in a North Carolina study 28 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm disease were indoor-only cats. It’s been a mild winter–mosquitoes are already out and about. And yes, Seren-kitty takes her preventive like a treat. (So does the Magical-Dawg).

Parasite Prevention from expert Dr. Blagburn from Good News For Pets

American Humane Association’s Second Chance Fund helps animals in disaster situations

Cat owners are urged to speak with their veterinarians about preventive medications for their cats so that they can protect their feline friends from potentially deadly heartworm infestations. For more information on CAPC, visit their website at www.petsandparasites.org.

2012 Petties DogTime’s Pet Bloggers Awards with awards going to help fund animal shelters of the winner’s choice. Nominations open June 4 and broadcast in November.

34th Annual Winn Feline Foundation Feline Health Symposium.  Learn all about feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy June 28, 2012 at the Boston Marriott Quincy, in Quincy, MA from researchers Leslie Lyons, PhD, University of California, Davis (speaking on genetics), and John Rush, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, Tufts University (causes, diagnosis, treatment). 

Hemingway Cats Case Awaits Federal Appeal The approximately 40 felines descended from the famous author’s “breeding” program continue to live on the grounds of the Hemingway Museum–should they be caged?

Fact Or Fiction: 10 Diet Myths Debunked, a fantastic post from the excellent blogger August McLaughlin

This terrific video “This Too Will Pass” was pointed out to me from terrific blogger Piper Bayard.

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: National Hairball Awareness Day

Posted on

That blue bed is as hairy as Seren-Kitty!

Do you know what today is?  It’s National Hairball Awareness Day! RomeoTheCat and FURminator are once again co-sponsoring an event to bring attention to this big-hairy-deal.

Have you ever discovered the latest squishy “kitty creation” by stepping on it, barefoot, at 3 a.m.? Ewww!

Cats, and some dogs (Pomeranian owners, am I right?!) swallow fur during self-grooming. Hopefully it ends up in the litter box or yard. But when it comes out the other end, the cat vomits hotdog or cigar-shaped hairballs.

Cats spend 30% of their lives grooming.

 Shedding season increases the odds kitty will “urk” more often, especially in longhair cats. The techie term for hairball is a “bezoar.”   I warn you, don’t click that link until after breakfast. I’m not posting a picture cuz I don’t want readers to “urk.” (Turns out, humans get bezoars, too, Ewww!)

I’m fortunate that Seren has short fur, but even that can accumulate and be swallowed. We kid that fur in a pet home should be considered a condiment, but if kitty swallows too much, it stops up the system. Baseball-size hairballs have been removed from cats. Most cases won’t need surgery, though, and most hairballs can be easily eliminated.

That's a wad won't go into the cat, or stain my carpet on the way out.

The no-brainer solution is to groom kitty and pull off the fuzz before it gets swallowed. I have grooming tools–the dog Furminator (above) is awesome and works especially well on the Magical-Dawg. (I don’t even wanna think what size bezoars he’d produce!)

I received a kitty-size Furminator to test on Seren-kitty for this month. She is IN LOVE…I have the handy grooming tool next to my chair. Each evening Seren arrives for a session of lap-snuggling and purr-icity while the kitty Furminator massages her whiskers to tail. She has not “urked” up a hairball this whole month, ever since we began getting rid of the extra fuzzies.

Here are more ways to manage hairballs. Do your cats get hairballs? What do you do to prevent ’em? What about your DOGS and hairballs? Cats that groom dog friends increase their hairball risk, too. Do your fur-kids like or loathe grooming. What are some tricks you use to keep a handle on fuzzy-icity? Please share!

Groom the cat. The cheapest, easiest hairball cure is to regularly comb and brush your cat. Any hair you remove won’t be swallowed to end up staining your upholstery. The Furminator eliminates up to 90 percent of shed fur.

Feed a hairball diet. A variety of commercial products are designed to prevent hairballs. They include extra nondigestible fiber. That helps push swallowed hair through the digestive tract, so it is eliminated naturally with each bowel movement.

Add some fiber. If you’d rather not switch foods, just add fiber to kitty’s regular diet. Mix in a teaspoon of plain bran or Metamucil to canned meals. Flaxseeds or psyllium husks, available in health food stores, also act as natural laxatives and work well. Add ¼ teaspoon of flaxseeds or psyllium for every meal.

Offer pumpkin. Canned pumpkin—the plain type, not for pies—is very rich in fiber and cats often love the taste. Get a jumbo-size can, and divide into teaspoon-size servings and freeze in an ice cube tray. Thaw one serving at a time, mixing into the regular food or offer as a treat once or twice a week.

Give a bit of honey. If your cat doesn’t appreciate canned pumpkin, you can offer a natural laxative, two or three times a week. Combine raw oatmeal, honey, and olive oil into a paste. Offer one to two tablespoons as a treat when hairballs are a problem.

Lubricate the gut. Butter will make your cat purr, but it won’t help hairballs. Digestible fats like butter can cause diarrhea and usually get absorbed before they can move the problem out. Instead, offer non-medicated petroleum jelly. It looks nasty but many pets like the taste. It will coat the hairball to make it slide more easily out of the system. If kitty refuses to accept a finger-full scraped into his mouth, just spread the jelly on his paw so he has to lick it off as he grooms. Commercial hairball remedies often add salmon or malt flavoring to similar petrolatum products. Take care to follow label instructions or your veterinarian’s advice, though. Overuse of these products can interfere with the pet’s use of fat-soluble vitamins.

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!

Woof Wednesday: Doggy Assistant, Excuse, or Both?

Today I sniff out new territory and welcome my first-ever GUEST BLOGGER! Please help me welcome my colleague Natalie Markey, who balances a writing career, marriage, motherhood, and special-needs dog–in other words, she’s like many of us who call ourselves freelancers. There can be pitfalls when working for yourself, though. I often tell folks that my “boss” is a b*tch who always knows when I’m goofing off–but truly it can be hard to toe the line and juggle all those balls (and Frisbees). How do YOU do it? Even if you don’t have the two-legged children, the fur-kids and significant others demand attention, too. Natalie shares her answers to these questions. Take it away, Natalie!

*********************

I traded in my fancy suits and briefcase from the “corporate world” for college t-shirts and Victoria Secret sweats (they are comfy) to write full time from home. Some people turned to working from home when the economy went south. The truth is, more and more professionals are working from home as freelancers, consultants and writers. Some companies even allow employs to work from home as incentives to save on gas and long commutes.  And then there are the brave stay-at-home-moms AKA CEO’s of the home. Whether you work professionally from home or deal with the normal daily chores that faces us all, dog owners all have one thing in common— Our dogs and if you’re like me your dog wants to help with everything!

My dog, Oscar sees himself as the man of the house whenever my husband isn’t home. Gosh, sometimes he still probably feels that way when my husband is home! As a working from home mom and author I’ve learned from my experiences how to manage my schedule so that I can be a great mom, dog owner and professional. I’m currently prepping my next Writing Moms workshop and I’m reminded that so much parenting advice can be applied to anyone with a dog.

If you have children and dogs then you will probably agree with me that children are in many ways easier. I can take my daughter to the grocery store, church, etc. Most places don’t want to see eighty-pound Oscar, even though I know he is such a gentlemen and anyone who knows him is blessed. Oscar is my other baby.  So how can you use that to help you with your work?

Your dog can help you around the house, whatever you are working on. Treat him like an assistant. Don’t let him be an excuse for not getting things done.  Arrange your routine to incorporate him. I work in my office so I made him a comfy bed set up under my desk. When I write, he lays on my feet keeping them warm and providing company.

Before I set up his addition in the office he would constantly be trying to get me away from work to spend time with him. He doesn’t get as much mommy/Oscar time as he use to because of our daughter. Whenever she naps, he wants to spend time with me. Of course I do give him my full attention throughout the day but when I’m working I’ve made it possible to combine time with Oscar with productivity.

There are many things you can do to incorporate your dog into your daily routine. Start with your relationship with him. Know your dog and you will know how to best incorporate him into your work, chores and goals.

How has your dog become part of your routine at home?

I’m giving away a “seat” in my March Writing Moms class, which begins Monday March 5. To participate visit my blog and leave a comment. I will put your name in my virtual hat and draw!

Natalie C. Markey is a seasoned freelance writer including popular columns like the Special Needs Dog Care Examiner. She is the author of “Caring for Your Special Needs Dogs,” and also writes fiction from her Arkansas home, where her dog Oscar assists her. Follow her on Twitter, Pen to Publish blog, and her website.

***********************

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!

Monday Mentions: Writing, Acting & Pets oh my!

Maxine

"Maxine" the owner of the gym in Kurves, Texas.

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.

This past weekend I finished the orchestration for the overture and exit music for KURVES, THE MUSICAL. Tonight we have a photographer coming for cast pictures during the show. That photo above is during a rehearsal–and that’s my co-author–to give you an idea of the flavor of the show. *s* If you’re in the N. Texas region I hope you’ll join us for this fun time. Rehearsals are a blast, we have a wonderful cast and the venue is outstanding. A reviewer will see the show this week, and we’ll have our premier March 1, 2, 3.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Just Breathe! stress relief tips from awesome author and blogger Joy Held

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2011  so do you agree?

The Writing for Children Competition seeks submissions for all ages of young people, from picture books to young adult (YA) stories. The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to launch its 16th annual Writing for Children Competition, which invites writers to submit a piece for children up to 1,500 words in the English language that has not previously been published in any format. A $1,500 prize will be awarded to an unpublished Canadian writer, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted for consideration to three publishers of children’s books. The deadline for entries is April 24, 2012.

Pinterest for Authors, good tips from Carla Stewart

Writers–You’ve Been Replaced by a Bot this gives me chills and it’s not sci-fi any longer.

R.L. Stine Posts Horror Story on Twitter  Talk about “short short stories…” is this the wave of the future?

AUTHOR BEWARE discusses the pros and cons (lots of cons!) of  BookTango, an ebook aggregator for self-published authors has been released by  Author Solutions (owner of the iUniverse, Xlibris, AuthorHouse, and Trafford brands, and the power behind the outsourced self-publishing divisions of Harlequin and Thomas Nelson, among others).

Kirkus Launches Editing Service for Self-Pub’d Authors

SAG + AFTRA = ???  Information on the merger of Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

PET SCHTUFF

Dog Flags for helping signal your dog’s attitude in advance–“I’m Shy” or “I’m Friendly” for the humans who can’t read doggy communication. Neat idea!

Help for Feral Cats from Examiner writer Stacy Ritz

Westminster Steps In It  Those who watched the dog show will be interested in this discussion by savvy dog-centric folks (be sure to read the comments, too, this is a keeper!).

Super-k9.com Presents Cara Shannon – Dallas/Addison 2012. This two day workshop shows professional dog trainers how to set up ongoing admission classes for reactive, aggressive, and shy dogs. Cara’s methods are all science-based and positive and are focused on not only changing behavior in the dogs but also on changing the emotional response of the dog.

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-to-Cat Introductions

.

New kitten? Awww...but what will the cats at home think?

You have GOT to check out the new Simon’s Cat video, below. He nails the behavior, and could be “channeling” most feline’s opinion of that (HISS! SPIT!) interloper. Cat lovers often decide to adopt a new pet without consulting the old-fogey feline. Seren would NOT be amused!

Here’s the deal–would you want to have a funny-smelling stranger come into your home, sleep in your bed, eat from your place, poop in your toilet (without flushing!) and go cheek-to-cheek with your beloved? Proper intros work wonders to smooth the hissy fits. With the holidays fast approaching and new kittens possibly on Santa’s list, here are some tips for proper kitty intros.
cats greeting sniff

YOU SMELL FUNNY!

Getting hissy with strange cats is a NORMAL cat behavior. In the wild, the feline that’s too friendly with a weird interloper risks getting eaten. Cats identify safe people (or other pets) by their familiar smell. A fresh-from-the-shelter a new pet that hasn’t been kitty-groomed by the group with licks and cheek rubs might as well be Frankenstein-Cat.

The sight, sound, and smell of a strange cat pushes kitty buttons to extreme. But blocking one sense (sight of each other for example) reduces arousal. That helps enormously during cat-to-cat intros, which is one reason my must-do list includes initially separating the cats. That also allows your older cat to maintain run of the house and ownership of all the prime kitty real estate.

A ROOM OF HER OWN

Confine the new kitten in a single “safe room” so the resident cat understands only part of his territory has been invaded. Young kittens that haven’t a clue anyway won’t care. But if they’re the least shy, being sequestered offers a safe, soothing retreat with a litter box, food and water bowls, toys, scratch post and other kitty paraphernalia. Being the “new kid” can be stressful for shrinking violet kittens so build the baby’s confidence with a room of his or her own before the whisker-to-whisker meeting.

Keep the solid door closed for at least a week before risking a face-to-face. Watch for your resident cat’s reaction. Hisses are normal. Trust me on this! It may take more than three weeks before those growly-sounds fade.

See, if you try to intro them too soon and the fur flies, the cats will remember that AWFUL-NASTY-TURRIBLE-DEVIL and bring a bad c’attitude to future meetings. It’s better to take it slow and avoid having the kitties practice bad behavior. They’ll have a lifetime together so what’s a delay of a few days or weeks?

Sniffing and paw pats underneath the door are positive signs. The cats should “know” each other by scent before they ever set eyes on each other. Expect normal posturing, fluffed fur and hissing and when that begins to fade, you’re ready for the next step.

THE NEXT STEP

Swap out the cats after a few days. That gives the old cat a chance to get up close and personal sniffing where the devil new cat has been. And it allows the newly adopted baby to scope out the environment. Kitties have no interest in meeting new people or pets unless they feel comfortable with their environment.

Reduce any potential kitty controversy by creating a house of plenty. Your home should have so much good-kitty-stuff like lots of toys, litter boxes and scratch trees that there’s no need for the kitten and old cat to argue over it.

Onyx & Tango cuddling

With time, the cats can become BFF!

LOW-KEY IS BEST

Once the BIG DAY arrives, just open the “safe room” door, stand back, and let the cat’s meet. Supervise, of course, but don’t force interaction. You can feed them on opposite sides of the room or play interactive games at a distance to smooth this first meeting. The cats may ignore each other for hours or days and that’s fine, too.

A bit of posturing with hisses, cautionary swats and other snark-icity is to be expected. Do stop the interactions if growls start rumbling. You may want to replace the closed door with a baby gate so the cats can sniff and meet through the safety of a barrier but still be segregated. Until you’re sure the old cat won’t mangle the baby, or the baby won’t terrorize the oldster, supervise or keep the new kitten segregated when you can’t. It can be love at first sight, or may take weeks or months to accept somebody new into the family.

Do your cats get along? What do they think of the new kittens? What has been your experience? Please share! And I hope you’ll share this blog with other cat lovers debating about adopting another kitty. You can find many more cat introduction tips and tricks in the book Complete Kitten Care.

#AskAmy

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!

Woof Wednesday: Stop Dog & Puppy Jumping Up!

Pup Jumps Up for Ball

Hey, it’s cute, right? When you bring that new bundle-‘o-puppy joy home, when that little guy dances on his hind legs and scrabbles at your knees, you reward him with kisses and snuggles. Weekend jumping up can be fun, too, when you play outside with the new pup. What about Monday morning when those puppy claws snag good clothes before you leave for work? If you’re like me, you wear dog hair for a living and a few snags won’t matter. Some bosses, however, frown on the dog-eared look.

What’s the deal with puppy jumping up, anyway? Do your dogs leap high, especially when you return home? See, a face lick is a canine howdy. It’s also a sign of deference. So it’s a normal puppy behavior to lick and try to aim kisses at your face. Here’s an article about why puppies jump up and 7 steps how to manage the little guys.

Sit

GROUNDING JUMPING-JACK DELINQUENTS

Even if you don’t mind the doggy pirouette and hops-along pooch, visitors to the house might object. And once the pooch grows out of the cute-icity stage and becomes an adolescent maniac, all the smiles go away. Big dogs can hurt you–or your guests–and bowl you over with their exuberance.

Hey, voice of experience here. The Magical-Dawg was AWFUL! He leaped, he grabbed, he clawed, he tore my clothes and made me question why I loved him so much. Honestly, I might have given him back if we hadn’t already bonded. I think that’s why they make puppies so cute–so you won’t kill them when they turn into juvenile delinquent dogs!

This isn’t uncommon. Pups that know their manners often begin to test boundaries as they mature. It’s almost a kind of “I DARE YOU TO MAKE ME!” attitude. And when the adolescent has big teeth and outweighs your toddler or Grandma–or shreds your clothes–it’s enough to pull out your hair.

So what do you do? All that advice in the article link (above) probably won’t work at this age. Oh, he knows what you mean but you’ll need to show the dog that you can enforce what you mean. *s* Tough love. And no, you do not need a bull-whip and chair to do this. I called on several of my savvy and incredibly knowledgeable colleagues for tips how they managed hard-headed jump-bean dogs. I added what worked for me with Magic (actually we agreed on several suggestions!) and the results is 10 tips for dealing with adolescent jumping and mouthing.

Have you ever had a jumping maniac? How did you manage the situation? Fortunately, many of these dogs grow out of the insistence on nose boinking and leaping about.

#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!

Monday Mentions: Angry Cupid, Writer-icity & Pet Schtuff

KURVES LOGO, hi rez

Angry cupid says "Suck it up, sweetheart!"

Tonight we begin our third week of rehearsals for KURVES, THE MUSICAL which will premier at the renovated Rialto Theater in Denison, Texas on March 1, 2, and 3. Woot! So besides the regular writing to-do list, I’ve added learning lines, lyrics, and completing the orchestration for this week. If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you’ll check us out, we’re having a ball (and hope all the actors can keep straight faces, cuz there’s some seriously funny SCHTUFF in this show)!

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. And I’ve got a BOATLOAD of links today, so take your time, bookmark the entry for later if you like, and share with your friends. I’ll catch you later–after the orchestration-line-learning-theater-icity!

WRITERICITY SCHTUFF

Highlights for Children Publishing Job Opening and also for Art Director

Writerly Self Doubt SPEAR THE MONSTER from Alison Brennan

JA Konrath’s ‘REALITY CHECK’ on his Indy Pub success, a MUST READ for modern writers!

Bubble-Cow Editing Offers Query Letter Template

Super E-Reads changes name to Super E-Books and the new Twitter handle is @Super_EBooks and here’s the Facebook Page. Just goes to show you that you GOTTA check those pesky Trademarks. All the other links stay the same, and they’ve added a new feature for Super E-Books authors called “Friday Freebies” as a showcase for your free Super E-Books.

Do you write romance–or want to? Check out these online classes from Savvy Authors, Some Like It Hot: – Writing the Erotic Romance – Jan 30 – Feb 26 and The Sensual Novella– Feb 20 – Mar 18

Thoughty Book Review of Stephen Kings “On Writing” from Gene Lempp’s blog.

B&N May Spin Off Nook Business

Clean Reading? Yes, a book has been ‘published’ on a shower curtain.

Footprint Give-Aways from Doug Lyle’s awesome forensics blog, how a footprint might identify a killer

Man-Speak Defined from the seriously wise-ass (and fun!) Jenny Hansen. WARNING: Set your beverage aside before viewing the “brain” video. Oh, and here’s Man-Speak Part Two

10 Mis-Pronounced Words that make you sound like an idiot. NOTE: This is a companion piece to the dog-centric list of misspelled breed names, below.

A side note–this might explain a bit about (ahem) my own sense of humor to share the following from my musician/artist father. No, he didn’t create them but this is the type of “family game” we used to share around the dinner table, each trying to top the previous offering. So without further adieu:

FAMILY TREE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH

His dizzy aunt ———————————————– Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes——————————- Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store —— Stop N Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia —————————– U Gogh
His magician uncle ——————————– Where-diddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin —————————————- A Mee Gogh
The Mexican cousin’s American half-brother ———— Gring Gogh
The nephew who drove a stage coach ————— Wells-far Gogh
The constipated uncle ————————————- Can’t Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt ——————————– Tang Gogh
The bird lover uncle ————————————– Flamin Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking —————— Way-to-Gogh
The little bouncy nephew ———————————– Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco ————————————– Go Gogh
And his niece who travels the country in an RV — Winnie Bay Gogh

3--black cat in garden--2-7-08

Managing Ferals Is A GOOD Thing!

CAT SCHTUFF

Loews Hotel Universal Florida & Feral Cats had a managed feral cat colony but has apparently decided to get rid of the cats–some have been trapped and taken to a local shelter to be killed. Click the link to learn more and sign a petition to urge the company to re-think this step.

Tips for Housing Feral Cats (positive info this time!) from the awesome Dr Deb Eldredge

CFA Foundation & Feline Historical Museum

DOG SCHTUFF

Professional Animal Behavior Associates (Canada) Offers Awesome “A SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION AND STUDY OF WORKING DOGS 3-day seminar.  These are some of the best of the best in dog behavior and training, if you have interest and get the chance, go! (I’ve a conflict with a writer conference booooooo!)

Lovely article about DOGS IN CHURCH

Dog’s Microchip Returns Lost Child

dog licking nose

"Branding" Breeds? Tasteeeeeeeeeeee!

Everyone wants their pet to be “special” but has branding gone to the dogs? These are ‘real’ breeds of dog, as collected from license applications and want forms at a USA dog shelter:

  • Westminster Terrier
  • Rhode Island Ridgeback
  • Palmeranian
  • Copper Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniard
  • Black Labrador (from a license app, dog’s color was yellow)
  • Shit Sue
  • Dorky Terrier
  • Lopso Apso
  • El Paso (attempt at Lhasa Apso)
  • Highland Heeler
  • Alaskan Malibu
  • Belgian Manawa
  • Belgium Malenoise
  • Basket Hound
  • Bagle
  • Welch Corgi
  • Wild Haired Terrier
  • Carrion Terrier
  • Wineamimer
  • Rockwelders
  • Rottenwiler
  • Great Pekingese (supposed to be Pyrenees)
  • Great Pyramid
  • Miniature Datsun
  • Irish Settler
  • Jack Daniels Terrier
  • German Police Man
  • Chesapeake A Retriever
  • Borderline Collie
  • Chevy King Charles (Cavalier)
  • Goverment Pinscher

Novartis Temporarily Suspends Production of Interceptor & Sentinel

Serena Dracis Blog has a spot-on entry on communicating with your dog for training

K9 Mobile Grooming has a great post on dog grooming basics (I think they’re in the UK or I’d be tempted to ring ’em up for a home visit!)

ODD SCHTUFF

Colin Falconer explains all about FRIGGATRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA HINT: it happened last Friday.

Climbing Baby Mountain from Jenny Hansen’s Risky Baby Business blog–great info for expectant (or wannabe) parents.

#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: Scratching the Surface–DON’T DeClaw!

water play and cat pix 032

Seren can scratch the carpet or wood, vertically or horizontally on this cat tree. Notice it's placed in front of windows for ideal kitty viewing.

If you got a new kitten over the holidays, chances are you’re dealing with those needle-sharp claws. One of the top reasons a cat loses his home is destructive scratching when the importance of pristine furniture trumps the cat-owner bond. People already bonded with a cat tend to put up with more household damage before resorting to ditching the kitty–but it can still happen.

Declaw surgery sounds like the perfect solution. Think again!

WHAT IS DECLAW SURGERY?

Feline claws correspond to the last joint of a human’s fingers and toes, but extend and retract courtesy of two small “hinged” bones that rest nearly on top of each other. A relaxed paw sheaths the claw inside a soft, smooth furry skin fold. Flexing the tendon straightens the folded bones and pushes claws forward and down.

Declaw surgery cuts off the last joint of each kitty toe. The cat is sedated, the paws scrubbed, and the joint amputated. This is commonly done using a scalpel blade or a guillotine-type nail trimmer (yes, the same ones you use on your pets!). State of the art declaw surgery uses a laser which arguably is the most humane.

Declaw surgery most commonly is performed on kittens. That’s right, the cute little guy snuggling in your lap gets taken to the vet, snuggled on and played with, goes to sleep and wakes up without part of her paws. Often the declaw gets scheduled at the same time as spay/neuter to save cost since only one anesthesia is needed.

With the cutting technique, the paws must be bandaged tightly for a period of time to stop the bleeding. Pain medication is also necessary afterwards because as you can imagine, walking on the stubs is excruciatingly painful.

Laser surgery prevents bleeding and is less painful for the cat but the toes take longer to heal from burns. In most cases, only the front paws are declawed and no cat without claws should be allowed outside since her defenses have been removed.

PROS & CONS

Cats without claws won’t claw–damage furniture, but they WILL still try to scratch. Some cats do FINE and go on to be wonderful pets. But unlike neutering, this surgery has no real health benefits for the kitten or cat (only for the owner’s house) and in fact can cause physical and emotional fall-out.

Now, the AVMA questions anecdotal reports of adverse consequences to declaw surgery, its position statement says, “Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively(read the whole statement here).

seren scratching 1

Choose your battles. This old chair now "belongs" to Seren and is in my office for her scratching/lounging pleasure.

Declawing should never be considered routine. It has been made illegal in some countries, as well as a few American cities due to concerns of humane issues. Some declawed cats develop other behavior problems, such as biting to defend themselves, or snubbing the litter box when sore paws make them reluctant to dig in the litter. So even though the kitten stops claw-damage, the litter-ary mishaps or biting often causes them to lose their homes anyway. Some detractors also argue that walking without that last digit throws off kitty balance and predisposes to arthritis later in life.

WHY CATS CLAW

Instead of trying to stop clawing, cat owners (and the cats they love) are best served by giving the pet a legal opportunity to claw and teaching the cat what’s acceptable. Understanding why a cat scratches–and how easy it is to prevent damage to furniture–helps motivate us to train Kitty to properly use a legal target.

Clawing feels good, and provides great aerobic exercise to stretch the shoulder and foreleg muscles, and keeps nails healthy. Scent pads in kitty paws leave invisible smell-cues of ownership. The marks also serve as feline Post-It Notes to warn away other cats from prime feline real estate. That’s why singleton cat households may have less claw-trauma than the multi-pet homes, where each cat vies for territory and attention. Cats also claw to comfort themselves during times of stress.

HOW TO TRAIN PROPER CLAW ETIQUETTE

For successful scratch training, give the cat an irresistible target, while making forbidden objects undesirable. Kitty wants the world to see his scratch-graffiti, so don’t hide posts in back rooms. Place them in high traffic areas or near important cat territory— windows, lookouts, nap places, and food stations.

The scratch surface—wood, sisal, carpet—and its shape—vertical or horizontal—are very important. Observe your cat to figure out what he likes. Spiking the new object with catnip helps promote feline allegiance.

Make illegal targets unattractive to the cat, until he learns to use the right object. Sticky Paws double-sided tape, endorsed by the ASPCA, works great on upholstery—cats dislike touching surfaces that stick to paw fur. Strong scents such as citrus deodorants or Vicks Vapo-Rub repel many cats. Cinnamon peppered on dark upholstery, or baby powder on light fabric, prompts a poof of dust into the cat’s face when he assaults with feline claws. You can even temporarily wrap chair arms with bubble wrap. These pet-safe “booby-traps” are effective when you’re not around.

Meanwhile, position the legal object next to the illegal target so you can redirect your cat’s claws when necessary. Interrupt forbidden scratching with a loud sudden noise. Slap a newspaper against your thigh, clap hands, or shake an empty soda can full of pennies. A long-distance squirt gun aimed at a furry tail can startle some cats out of the behavior, but this won’t work for all cats. Once kitty stops, direct claws to the legal target perhaps with a laser pointer or dragging a feather lure over the surface, and praise when he does the right thing.

For hard-case cats, Soft Paws reduce the potential for scratch damage. The vinyl claw covers glue over the top of each nail, and come in a variety of fashion colors. They are available from pet supply stores and some veterinary offices.

After the cat switches to scratching the correct object, move it to a better location, a few inches at a time. The bubble wrap comes off as well. A little bit of human inconvenience translates into a well-trained kitty and a lifetime of love. And that’s the purr-fect outcome for everyone.

Do your cats and kittens claw? How do you manage claw-maniacs? Have you adopted a declawed cat or had the surgery done on your kitty? What has been your experience? Please share! And I hope you’ll share this blog with other cat lovers debating about claw issues.

Last November I posted an Ask Amy on dealing with screen-scratching kitties.  And one of the tips came from Gretie’sMom who said they bought a roll of the Pet Resistant Screen from Orchard Supply Hardware that is not invincible, but it works pretty well.

You can find many more training how-to’s in the book Complete Kitten Care.

#AskAmy

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!

Woof Wednesday: Free Book & What About Pet Vacations?

pup with ball

Leave a special toy or something that smells like you when he's left behind!

Cats and dogs deal with our absences in different ways. Of course they’re very different creatures with different languages, and want different things out of life. In fact, I wrote a book about this–and ComPETability has just gone FREE for 5 days only on Kindle. I hope you’ll share the link with other folks who love both cats and dogs.

I know we’ve just come off of the holidays. Many of y’all got a new puppy for Christmas, though, and aren’t thinking about the next vacation. What will you do with the new little one? It’s always best to plan ahead.

Vacations rate right up there with winning the lottery. Okay, maybe not quite that high, but “time off” from the daily rush makes me feel like a seven year old at Christmas. For pets, though, an owner’s vacation can be anything but fun.

You have several choices: stay home with Sheba and Rex; take the fur-kids along for the ride; find a pet motel willing to board your critter cotillion; or, engage the services of a pet sitter.  Each option has benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice depends mostly on your individual pets—and your holiday destination.

Boarding offers good options particularly for well-adjusted canines. You’ll find a number of facilities in our area listed in the yellow pages. A pet sitter comes to your house at predetermined times.

De-Tails Needed

Provide details about the dog’s routine and individual foibles. For instance, Rex may NEED to have a Frisbee session every day at 4 pm, while Sheba MUST have her Kitty Kaviar treat before she’ll eat. Other services may also be available, such as watering plants, picking up the newspaper, or turning lights on and off while you’re gone.

Be sure the pet sitter has the phone numbers to contact you during your trip. Leave emergency information and authorization for veterinary care, if the need should arise.

Finding the Pros

There are two professional “pet sitter” organizations. Other pet sitter professionals may also be available, if you ask around. Check with pet owning friends and your veterinarian or groomer for suggestions. Give one or more of these folks a call to match your particular pet needs. You’ll find more details about vacationing with–or without–your dog in this article. Then, enjoy your vacation in peace!

Do you take your dogs with you on vacation? Or do you engage the services of a pet sitter? Magical-dawg stays with his breeder (oh joy!) and gets to play with the cousins and aunts. What are some tips that help your dog when you must leave him/her behind? Does the dog act upset and snub you when you return, or is the reunion a par-teeeee?! Please share!

#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!

Monday Mentions: Thriller-icity, Writing & Cat-vertising

Posted on

Today I finished my thriller WIP, yeeee-haw!!! Can you see my virtual cartwheels? I hope so, cuz I can’t do real ones. I’ve sent the manuscript (DEADLINES…how appropriate, ey?) off to an editor and 4 writers/readers for first look and feedback. It’s shivery times ahead until I get their responses. But if anything in the manuscript turns out right, that’s all because of the terrific writer-icity how-to blogs often listed here on the Monday Mentions. That’s 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.

WRITER-ICITY

Publishing Poynters, is a newsletter with all the self pub’ing must knows from guru (and a friend of mine!) Dan Poynter. Why not subscribe? He’s got some terrific how-to books, too.

The Chipper Muse kicks off the New Year with a roundup of great blogs and writing resources (including this one *blush*)

Things Writers Should Stop Doing from Chuck Wendig’s awesome PenMonkey brain

The Best of Daily Writing Tips, a round up of the year’s best

Thrilleresque magazine info can be found on Facebook. He does profiles of published thriller authors, and pays for some short stories and features.

Signing Families has information about ASL–maybe you have a hearing-impaired or deaf character in your novel?

Marketing Tips for Writers from my friend Nita Beshear (she has a neat book out on quilting, too!)

Brand-Related Blogs–(not what you think!) Interesting reading from a speaker from last year’s Blog-Paws Conference

PET SCHTUFF

War Horse Movie Wins Highest Marks from American Humane

Does the Nose Nose–or Not? Interesting article on canine sniffers and how they may go wrong–take this with a grain of salt (or fur), not everyone agrees. Make a good plot twist, though. *s*

Purina Partners with Jenny Craig for slimming pudgy pooches AND YOU!

Feeding Raw from Sally Bahner’s Exclusively Cats blog

Say No to Declaw from cat expert Marilyn Krieger

Jackson Galaxy Interviewed–My Cat from Hell (Animal Planet show) by JaneA Kelly

OFF-THE-WALL SCHTUFF

Coffee-Snorting Gift Wrapping from one of my fav bloggers Jenny Hansen. This is too good not to share, even though the holidays have past.

My kewl friend Paula Lanier sent me this link–and I feel all vindicated about my life’s profession. Check it out!

#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!