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

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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.

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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

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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!

Monday Mentions: The New Baby & Suck It Up, Sweetheart!

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Rialto Max & Celia

Frank Steele and Amy Shojai prior to the closing night performance of KURVES premier run.

A new “baby” was born this past weekend. That’s me with my writing partner Frank Steele outside the theater, just before curtain time on KURVES, THE MUSICAL. I’ll have more pictures and even video very soon to share, but for now, wanted to offer a brief recap of one of the most awesome experiences of my professional life.

Many of you who read this blog are writers–published or someday-published–and I’m hear to tell you that DREAMS DO COME TRUE! But first, you have to dare to dream. And then you gotz-ta reach out for that brass ring. When you fall off the merry-go-round, it’s tempting to lay there in the dust and watch all the pretty horsies keep racing round and round, just out of reach.

Nobody becomes successful without eating a few dirt sandwiches along the way. You don’t have to like the taste, but you do need to get used to it, and remind yourself where that dirt belongs–in the litter box (or litter-ary toilet!). So grit your teeth, swallow and it’ll all come out in the end where it belongs, but only if you GET UP and keep reaching for those shiny objects. You can’t catch anything unless you open your hand.

Rialto view from stage

View from the stage--waiting for the house to open.

My best advice? Try. Ask. Risk. Surround yourself with those who share–or at least support–your dream. Not yes-bots, but reality-peeps with gentle sage advice willing to give you a butt-kick when needed along with that shoulder to cry on, and support your toddler steps.

What’s the worst that could happen–you fail. So what? Here’s a lesson learned from dog and cat behavior–the only way pets learn on their own is to make mistakes, so failure is value-added. Each setback stings but also adds wisdom that comes with a callous on your nether regions for future protection. Thing is, dogs and cats learn REAL FAST compared to humans. People are just wired to be stupid sometimes, and it takes head-banging angst before I learn there’s an open doorway just waiting for me to walk through.

I have a confession to make. For years, I wanted to write a play and compose music but never got around to it. I was like all those wannabe writers (not YOU of course!) who like to say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel…” and have every excuse in the book to postpone the dream.

Ya know what it took to get me to actually get off the “wannabe” pot? An insult from someone that really didn’t matter in the scheme of things. Yet I let those hurtful comments undermine my confidence and drive me away from something I desperately loved. To fill that hole in my heart my good friend Frank and I decided to create our own show, and KURVES (and the wonderful cast and crew!) put those careless comments right where they belonged–the litter box.

Rialto, KURVES set

The Kurves set awaits . . .

The older I get, the more I realize that life’s too short to let others rule your day or take the shine out of the sparkles. We give others the power to take away our joy sometimes–it’s easy to do but I’m getting better about recognizing that in myself. And, as one of the songs in KURVES says, instead of giving in to the urge, SUCK IT UP, SWEETHEART!

Do you have someone or something–comments, an event, a disappointment–that colors your future expectations? Does it hold you back, or spur you to by-damn prove ’em wrong? How do you manage the nay-sayers in your life? They say that success is the best revenge, so is it true?

I don’t know where KURVES will take us but this toddler seems to have strapped on roller blades and it may be we’re in for an exciting ride. So stay tuned! Oh, and you can scroll down a bit for the usual Monday Mentions mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week.

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Opening night cake courtesy of the Kurves cast!

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In honor of the "new baby" the playwrights were presented with flowers, candy cigars and monogrammed "onesies." Jury is still out whether it's a boy...or a girl.

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Opening night flowers from the cast.

kurves flowers

Closing night flowers from my husband--awwwww!

WRITING SCHTUFF

Time Waster or Time Investment? Social Media for Writers from Laurie Huston

Ebook Pricing for Writers from Dean Wesley Smith, he’s actually done some research, an interesting read

Kindle Nation Survey on reader habits, interesting info

PayPay vs Naughty Pink Bits oh no you DIDN’T?! from Susan Brassfield Cogan’s Blog

Audio Books Anyone? Some how-to info

French Seize Digital Rights?! Writer Beware awesome blog!

Twitter Tips for Tweeps from my writing buddy Nita Beshear

2012 International Digital Awards contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.

DK Seeks Online Marketing Manager

Christina Katz: Author of The Writer’s Workout from Jenn Nips blog

Firearms For Writers a conference speaker April 14 in Ohio from an RWA chapter, looks good!

PET SCHTUFF

10 Ways You Know Your Cat Rules You

AKC Names Most Popular Dog Breeds  is yours here?

Learn the Benefits of Play from Kitty from awesome blogger Angie Bailey

Owners Concerns Re: Euthanasia & Care

Birthday Surprise: Wife gets namesake pet-adoption center

Tough Job…NOT! Perfect for writers–get paid to stay home with the dog!

Trendy Pet Names from VetStreet as well as Least Trendy Pet Names

Why Cats Run the Internet and sell sell sell!

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

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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!

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

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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!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy & Kitten Litterbox Training

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"You want me to do WHAT?" (Copr Maria Magnus)

Did you get a kitten for Christmas? Today’s Feline Friday is the kitty version of Woof Wednesday’s dog house training tips. Most cats come pre-programmed to use the potty but you’ll need help if the baby is very young. Felines are great imitators and simply “copy cat” their mother’s behavior when they watch and follow her to the litter box. Most kittens and cats will already know what a litter box is for and how to use it by the time you adopt them.

But if you hand-raise an orphan or adopt a kitten younger than 8 to 10 weeks, you’ll need to do the job of the mother cat. Transitioning outdoor cats to an indoor lifestyle also may mean re-training bathroom etiquette from “going” among the flowers to aiming for the litter box. Check out the Ask Amy video below, and you’ll find more of the basics here.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Felines are naturally clean creatures and dislike eliminating where they sleep or eat. They also appreciate privacy when (ahem) doing their duty. Build allegiance to the litter box by positioning it correctly, in a low-traffic area away from the cat’s bed and food bowls. Also remember that kittens may not have the physical capacity to “hold it” long enough to run clear across the house or down the stairs. Provide a box on each end of the house, or one per floor.

SIZE MATTERS

A regular size box may be too large for new kittens to climb in and out. A disposable cookie sheet works until he’s bigger. Average size adult cats do well with standard commercial litter pans, but jumbo-size cats (Maine Coon kitties come to mind!) may need larger toilets or risk hanging over the sides when they pose. Translucent plastic storage bins with a cat-size hole cut in one side may be ideal.

FILLER ‘ER UP WITH…WHAT?

A variety of cat box fillers are available, from plain clay to pine pellets and recycled wheat or corn crumbles. The ideal material absorbs moisture, contains waste and odor, and most important of all, suits the cat. Fine textures such as the “clumping” clay litters seem to be the feline favorite. Fill the box an inch or so deep with the filler.

If you’re transitioning an outdoor cat to an indoor box, do a bit of research and follow him to find out his preferred substrate. Dusting a bit of plain garden dirt, or a layer of grass or leaves over top of the commercial litter may help give him the idea of what you have in mind.

TRAINING TO THE BOX

Kittens and cats new to your home won’t know where the box is, even if they do know what it’s for. Place the kitty on top of the clean litter, and scratch around with your fingers to prompt imitation. Even if the cat doesn’t need to “go,” a pristine box often tempts them to dig a bit, which may lead to the first deposit.

When he’s creative in the box, reward your cat with verbal praise, a toy, or even a tasty treat reserved only for training. Don’t pick your new kitty up out of the box. Let him make his own way out of the box and the room, so he’ll better remember how to get back there the next time nature calls.

For tiny kittens, leave one recent deposit in the box after he’s been productive. The scent is a reminder of where the box is, and what he’s supposed to do once he’s there. But remember to keep the box clean or the cat will avoid the dirty toilet and find a better spot—such as under your bed.

CREATE A POTTY SCHEDULE

Until you’re sure the kitty consistently uses the box, make a point of scheduling potty times. Kittens need to eliminate more frequently than adults do. Take the baby for a pit stop after each nap, meal, and play period.

Teaching basic bathroom allegiance from the beginning ensures your kitten gets off on the right paw—and saves your carpet. You’ll find even more of kitten “must knows” in the book Complete Kitten Care.  Have you ever had problems training kittens to “go” in the right spot? How did you manage?

#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!

Woof Wednesday: Ask Amy & Puppy House Training

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Page with Christmas present 2011

A Christmas puppy named Page has fun with the gifts. (Copr Esagirl/Flickr)

Did you get a puppy for Christmas? SQUEEEEE! What fun! The joy of watching a baby dog play, and learning all about the little guy can be a special time. But the new baby doesn’t come knowing all the rules of your house. House training is a biggie and can spoil and interrupt the bonding experience for you both. After all, the puppy wants to please you but just can’t help natural urges to squat.

Dogs can be potty trained at any age, but puppies learn much more quickly than adults. Puppies are so cute that owners forgive puppy-size accidents, but adult-size deposits aren’t cute and often lose the grown-up pet his home. I’ve offered a couple of the biggies–most important tips–in the Ask Amy video below. You can use these 8 puppy potty training tips to housebreak puppies and ensure he grows up to be the best friend he’s meant to be.

Have you ever had a potty training challenge? What did you do? What are some other dog bathroom training tips that worked for you? Senior citizen dogs also can have issues with being able to “hold it.” You can find tips for the old doggy incontinence issues in the book Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.

#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!