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Furry Friday: Spay & Neuter

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It has been quite a week–and I’ve gotten snowed under with a number of challenging issues both professional and personal. So today’s post is a bit late because (confession time!) I took the day off and went for a LONG walk with the Magical-Dawg and then took a nap with Seren-Kitty.

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month and all the kittens “littering” shelters need your love and care. But don’t neglect the adults and older felines–or the dogs, either. Today’s “Ask Amy” offer some basics you already know about spaying and neutering pets and here’s more details for fixing puppies.

Are you in the market for a new furry friend? Will you adopt this month? How did you find your special cat friend? How do you feel about adopting “older” pets?

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: Outdoor Cat Safety

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Seren loves exploring the roses–but only when on leash.

This Memorial Day it’s vitally important that you stay safe over the holiday–your fur kids are counting on you! Of course, it’s equally important that you keep the cats safe. In the best of all possible worlds, cats could roam back gardens and chase butterflies, enjoy sniffing the roses and have a wonderful time being cats–as they were meant to be. But the reality of the situation is that dangers lurk even in the back garden.

In my neck of the woods, coyotes venture right onto the back patio ready and willing to make a snack of Seren-kitty. Strays also may expose a pet cat to dangerous viruses, and cars can’t swerve every time to save the pet’s life at the risk of their own safety. You can train your cats–purrsuade them–to stop door dashing behavior to protect them from accidental escape. You’ll find a number of additional cat management solutions in the Competability: Cat-to-Cat book as well.

There are fence products available for cats to help you create less dangerous outdoor sanctuaries. Cat containment systems like Cat Fence-In attaches fine webbing to existing outdoor fences to keep cats safely inside while allowing them to enjoy the outdoors. Purr…fect Fence  also offers a complete backyard fence enclosure. Affordable Cat Fence receives positive marks as well. All three offer do-it-yourself kits. Here are some more tips on how to keep outdoor cats safe.

Do your cats have outside playgrounds? How do you keep cats safe when they’re outside? Have you trained your kitty to a leash for safe exploration? Please share!

And in the spirit of fun, here’s the latest Simon’s Cat video on the subject, enjoy!

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: 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!

Woof Wednesday: Big Hairy Deal & Stop Litter Box Snacking

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On Monday Mentions you saw my Hairball Celebrity Creature, and a number of folks had terrific guesses. Today you can find out just WHO that was supposed to be–featured on PeoplePets.com, a gallery of 9 of the hairy hopefuls are profiled.

To see the whole gallery plus the five finalists, and vote for your choice of winner, click on the logo, above.

In the spirit of Woof Wednesday, but with a nod to the cats, today’s Ask Amy has a cross-species problem to address. Does your dog (urk!) snack from the litter box? Learn why dogs eat dung in this article. How do you keep Poochie away from the poo?

I’m in the process of completely revising my ComPETability book to be even more prescriptive, and some of the tips from the book are presented in the video, below. What are some other ways you handle the problem? Do tell!

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!

Tuesday Tips: A Roundup for Valentine’s Day

Cats of Egypt--helping Egypt's animals . . .

Monday Mentions didn’t happen yesterday because I was head-down on final edits for my THRILLER. I sent it to the publisher last evening, whew! And then I hurried off to KURVES rehearsal and didn’t even get to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when I got home. Yep, these days I meet myself running, but it’s all good.

I’ve got news! I learned that my new Puppies Website won a MAJOR AWARD, the Maxwell Medallion, from the Dog Writers Association of America, woot! The awards were presented Sunday night in New York and since I’m in rehearsals, I couldn’t be there but some seriously talented dog-savvy folks were honored.

Today just for Valentine’s Day I’ve compiled a 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.

PET SCHTUFF

Lorraine Chittock celebrates Cairo’s cats, with glorious photos–and donations to a wonderful Egyptian animal welfare organization. Check out the book Cairo Cats! pictured above.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants annual behavior conference, all about cats, dogs, therapy animals, horses and parrots! Early bird registration goes away in 6 days . . .

California Roll-Back on Pet Protection Laws? from terrific blogger BJ Bangs

14 Ways Your Cat Loves You from my good friend and cat behavior expert Sally Bahner

Inking for Dollars–tattoos benefiting shelters!

Dogs Deserve Better sent 19,000 Valentine cards to dog owners who chain their dogs all day long!

WRITING SCHTUFF

Books-A-Million and Indigo Books join B&N in the Amazon boycott  along with Amazon may open brick & mortar store in Seattle

Helpful post about How to “Gift” an Ebook for Reviews

OKC University Creative Writing Festival the art of laughter and thrills in creative writing

Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Writing Contest

Why HATING FACEBOOK Costs You Book Sales, you really need to read this

Dreamin’ with Jennifer Lawler, how her editing/publishing dream came true and she wants YOUR book, too! from

Keeping Current Without Being Overwhelmed, from Lorie Huston’s blog for Socially Savvy Pet Bloggers

Dirty Fighting, techniques to spice up your fiction, from the awesome Jenny Hansen, plus heart-pounding visceral responses from guest blogger Margie Lawson

How NOT to Get Burned Out from Kristen Lamb, social media maven

Dirty Publishing–DON’T DO IT! Great post on independent author’s ethics from Jeremy Robinson

Updating Your Ebook--how to do it.

Writers Guide to E-Pub now features the awesome Jen Talty from WhoDaresWinsPublishing.com, SQUEEEE!

Score Your Book Title, some great tips for designing a winner (with a very cool “test”) from great blogger Linda Joyce

Overdone Plotlines–yikes! Is yours in there?

Gene Lempp’s Blog Treasures, even more good stuff!

Babe the Sheep Pig has nothin’ on Champis, the bunny–wowsers!

Don’t try this at home–unless you’ve got year’s of experience, trustworthy dogs, and lots of supervision but–wow, ain’t this a fun video?!

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! NOTE a special Valentine’s Day issue will go out later this afternoon.

Woof Wednesday: Puppy Love & Valentine’s Day

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Puppy Love...it's ALL it's cracked up to be!

Magic runs to me with his ears down and tail a-wag, wanting attention. He rolls on his back for a tummy rub or brings me a treasured toy to share. How do your dogs show love…or do they?

Dogs have well-known reputations as loyal, loving companions—the quintessential “man’s best friend” and deservedly so. Dogs thrive on social interaction. Heck, Magical-Dawg even enjoys the cat’s company (he won’t admit it!). With Valentine’s Day in the offing, I’d love to hear from y’all the various ways YOUR furry wonder’s show love.

To get you started, here’s what I’ve come up with — 12 ways puppies show love.  And on a related note, here’s a fun article on a GREAT way for you to offer the ideal Valentine’s gift to your pet-loving significant other.   If’n your Valentine would like a pet book, well you’ve come to the right place!

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: Cat Lit, Hero Dogs, Pet Pix & George Carlin On Pets

Higgins--an "accidental dog" that became a beloved family member.

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.

Today tickets go on sale for KURVES, THE MUSICAL. If you’re in the N. Texas region I hope you’ll join us for this fun time. My voice is nearly back so rehearsals should run smoother.

This past weekend I spent a lot of time on the thriller WIP edits, going over notes from my copy editor and some beta readers. Work yet to be done before submission but now it’s so close I can taste it!

And as if I didn’t have enough to do, I was just introduced to Pinterest where you can “pin” photos that you like. It’s addictive. Gulp. But feel free to check out my meager “boards” and re-pin if you like them. I’ll add to them as I can. I’m at http://pinterest.com/amyshojai/ and (go figure!) I have pictures of pets, flowers and shiny objects–oh, and books. 🙂

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

BARNES & NOBLE, TANTRUMS R US? Maybe not. They’re just playing hardball by refusing to stock amazon.com-published books in their physical stores. After all, amazon.com pulled titles from publishers who refused to play ball on some things. Makes you wonder, who will take their Playdoh and go home next?

Kitty Lit — Cats Rewrite the Classics. Abebooks has out cat-egorized themselves by making sure cat-lacking literature got the paw-stamp it deserved. Now you can read such classics as “Furenheit 451” and “Lord of the Fleas” and even (cue scary music) Paws –Don’t go in the litterbox. Don’t go near the scratching post. Don’t sit on the sofa. And now, for the first time….don’t go in the water. With razor sharp claws and a thirst for vengeance, Kitty is back, and this time….she can swim!

THE DANGER OF “TRENDY” WORDS in your novel from Jennifer Eaton’s blog

THE VALUE OF CRITIQUE GROUPS from novelist Beth Groundwater

SWEET SPOT TWEET TIPS some data that reveals the secrets to effective twitter-icity

DIRTY HOTEL ROOM SECRETS for those writing bedroom sagas…wait, no, that’s not right! Actually blogger Marcia Richards has some great info you’ll want to know before you book your next holiday. Or put a holiday in your book.

IS YOUR BOSS A PSYCHOPATH? and is this wrong? Betcha a lot of you fiction writers can take tips from this to build your next villain. Or hero? Bwaaa-hahahaha!

CREATESPACE VS LIGHTENING SOURCE which is better for your self pub’d work?

DOG SCHTUFF

THE ACCIDENTAL DOG brought boatloads of love. Had to share, this is from my brother. Did you ever have an “accidental” pet?

INSPIRING HERO DOG HELPS FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME BOY  Read this with tissues, folks. It’s long but worth the read.

McDONALD’S APOLOGIZES FOR DOGGY GAFF

DOG WITH CANCER STILL A CHAMPION! and inspires others

CANINE SNAKEBITE SURVIVOR from “down under” vet Dr. Rayya, wow!

CLOMICALM MEDS CONTAIN WRONG TABLETS? This common medicine prescribed for dog and cat anxiety MAY have been dispensed in some cases with the wrong tablets. Click the link and read the release from the manufacturer Novartis for guidance.

HOARDING VS FOSTERING the thin furry line, a heartbreaking but enlightening article

ANIMAL LAW 101, some good info here for folks who need to know

PET FOOD POLITICS, interesting article from Dr. Marion Nestle and the great writing team at PetConnection.com

CAT SCHTUFF

FELINE WISDOM & POSSIBILITIES a simply lovely post from Angie Baily, you’ll want to read this and be inspired!

SHELTER STATS well, as close as they can get, perhaps.

MAN FIRED FOR FEEDING FERALS AT 7-UP PLANT

CAT MAN DREW feline artwork right in time for Valentine’s Day

MY NAME IS PEANUT has some lovely kitty photos

STOOPID CAT PICTURES–“BREADING” CATS

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!

Furry Friday: Say WHAT? Silent Communication R Us

9-2 seren
This past week has been a strain–on my emotions and my communications. I’ve over-used and abused my voice, and the strain showed up last Thursday and 7 days later has only slightly recovered. About the same time our landline telephone went out (quelle ARG!) but it didn’t matter so much because I have no voice.

No. Voice. At. All.

For someone who communicates for a living, that’s pretty darn disruptive and frustrating. We’re in the fine-tune stages of KURVES rehearsal and I’m the music director. That means coaching (that is, singing a demo) with the actors for everything from the low baritone to 1st soprano parts. I’ve got a pretty good range but combine that with a cold (I mean FREEZING! as in NO HEAT!) rehearsal space, and the vocal chords hadn’t a chance.

No phone and no voice means recording the new ASK AMY videos were put on hold, along with any new PET PEEVES radio shows. I couldn’t even croak “happy birthday” to my mom this week. I had to rely on Email and texting, and hope folks weren’t frustrated with the funky phone

!@#$%^&*!@#$%^& Verizon!  Eleven days to wait for service ain’t funny. If I had a voice, they’d get a piece of my mind!

Wait–did I actually say that? You know what I mean.

Yet while moping around the house for 3+ days without any vocalization above a whisper, it occurred to me I had no problem whatsoever communicating with the cat or dog. There was no need to say, “want to go out?” to Magical-Dawg for him to read my mind/body language and beat me to the door. Seren-Kitty anticipated the bed-spread-chase game without an invitation. Both critters assumed the position to beg tastes from my lunch plate. And neither had trouble deciphering my mood when they picked at each other like teasing siblings (as they often do), yet responded appropriately to my silent cease-and-desist scowl-‘o-doom.
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How often do we humans chatter on, making words a meaningless soup when we have so many more pointed ways to communicate? Do words devalue when spent without thought? Have we lost the ability to understand subtlety when shouting becomes the norm–and we become tone-deaf to nuance?

Seren flicks her tail. A small thing, but it brings about an attitude change in Magic. He knows. And when his ears twist just so, the cat runs, while giving him the feline finger with her nether regions. Sure, dogs have a whole repertoire of communication that includes vocalizations. And so do cats.  The cat-gods (and dog-demons) know they can make noise when they want to. But with them, there are no wasted words.

I’ve received valuable feedback on my thriller WIP so this weekend I’ll be up to my own nether regions in edits. The book includes dog viewpoint as well as a cat character. So I’ll be channeling my inner critters while continuing to give my home crew the “silent treatment” while my voice heals. I hope I do them justice–both the fictional pets and the real ones.

How do you communicate with your pets? With your kids? Significant other? Do you have a secret language, or “insider” jokes and words that can bring you to tears–or blows? Is it all words or do you also have other ways you communicate? 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!  NOTE: the Pet Peeves newsletter will have a special VALENTINE’S DAY ISSUE you won’t want to miss!

Monday Mentions: Teach Writing, Brushing Pet Teeth & Dog Show Fun!

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. I’m sure you’ll find something to bring a smile, a puzzled look, or a “who’d-a-thunk-it?” Enjoy!

Here’s a reason to celebrate, though. My good friend Priscilla Maltbie has a new book out! If you have children or just enjoy a lovely story with glorious illustrations, check out BAMBINO AND MR. TWAIN (yep, it’s true, Mark Twain/Samuel Clements loved cats!).  “Grieving the death of his wife, America’s favorite author and humorist shuts himself up in his Fifth Avenue house and abandons his writing. Only his daughter’s cantankerous cat, Bambino, seems to understand Samuel Clemens and his moods. When the feisty cat disappears, Sam is determined to find him, and along the way, he also finds the will to live again.” Congrats Priscilla! You can find the book here.

Technology has it ‘in’ for me lately. Last week our TV went kerflooey (that’s a techie word, meaning, the dang thing quit!). I punched every button the furshluggener remote and nothing happened. This was truly angst-elevating because my hubby cannot live without the TV. It–must–be–on, never mind that he’s snoozing, his unconscious hand stays clenched around that remote like a mongoose on a snake. (aside: can a hand be unconscious? never mind…)

Then the phone went kerflooey. That’s right, my landline office number went out probably sometime Friday afternoon. So much of my work is done via email that I didn’t notice until Sunday night when my husband was aggravated upon his return home that I’d not answered my cell phone or the house line despite multiple calls. Heck, I turned off the cell because I was HOME! But sure enough, no dial tone. The fine folks at Verizon have me scheduled for a fix-the-phone on February 8. THAT’S RIGHT, ELEVEN FRICKIN’ DAYS FROM NOW! Ahem. They dang well better pro-rate the bill.

Maybe they techie fairies had pity because about that same time we discovered the phone was AWOL, the right TV remote button got pushed and the television resurrected. Whew. I’d already prepped for reasons why a flat screen tv does not look good poised in front of cherry wood cabinetry or mounted over the fireplace. *shudder*

Perhaps I’m a bit hissy because we’re moving to the RIALTO tonight for KURVES rehearsal–and I’ve nearly lost my voice. That’s right, it’s a music rehearsal and I can’t sing. Oh well. It’s always something.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to distribute Amazon books Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s brand new New Harvest imprint will now publish “all of Amazon Publishing’s New York-based imprint’s adult titles in print and distribute them in North America outside of the Amazon.com platform.”

How To Teach Someone to Write Well  Is it a gift or learned skill? What do you think?

Alexandra Sokoloff’s Class Schedule  If you want tips on writing, she’s the go-to-gal for fiction, thrillers, screenplays.

Tips for Pricing Your Work

Pinterest Tips for Writers Wow, yet another place to become “social.” Nope, haven’t tried it. Yet. Already doing too much, I think.

What are the most popular #Hastags for twitter? Check it out.

Facebook “Timeline” to Become Mandatory  I’ll admit, I know nothing about this. Will this be good, bad or indifferent for us? Hmnnn.

CAT SCTUFF

Mainstreaming A Feral Cat from the awesome blog by Deb Barnes (you MUST watch the video, some kewl info about cat care for low income folks, too).
Along those same lines here’s a great blog from a Cat Guy on TNR.

Cat Escapes into Plane “Innards”  don’t let this happen to YOUR cat! A delayed flight was the least of kitty’s problems

In response to my puppy article on how to brush puppy teeth, my colleague Ingrid King pointed out an awesome link from Cornell with a video on how to teach cats to accept teeth brushing. Check it out here!

DOG SCHTUFF

All about the joys of fostering pets, a lovely article!

In celebration of dogs in art, the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and Bonhams Auction House are hosting their annual charity brunch, Barkfest at Bonhams, on Sunday, February 12, 2012 from 10 a.m. to noon, benefiting the AKC Humane Fund, Inc. 

Don’t miss the AKC Eukanuba National Championship.  This year’s show will air on ABC on Saturday, February 4that 2:00 pm EST (check local listings). Watch as the country’s premier dogs vie for $225,000 in prizes. Additional footage, including the full coverage of groups, the Eukanuba World Challenge and the Eukanuba Breeder’s Stakes, will be available at www.eukanuba.com. Bred-By-Exhibitor group videos are available on the AKC website.  Visit www.akc.org/aenc for more information about the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.

Diabetes In Dogs a nice overview that I found because (wow!) they quoted my book Pet Care in the New Century!

HILARIOUS SCHTUFF!

A Funny Funeral? Seriously? YES!  We need to laugh during sad times most of all and my friend Jenny Hansen’s blog today is one you’ll want to save. Awesome! (had to come in and add it to the list, it’s THAT GOOD!).

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: Celebrating Old Cats

Seren2000

Seren has ALWAYS talked but she's more vocally demanding these days.

Seren had a birthday this week. She’s now 15 years YOUNG, as she frequently reminds me. For an old fogey kitty, Serendipity is remarkably well preserved. I keep telling myself that Siamese as a breed tend to be longer lived, and it’s not unusual for healthy cats to live into their late teens or even early twenties. She’s a healthy one, all right–teeth clean, good appetite, normal litter-ary habits, sound heart and no lumps or bumps. Her vet check happens in March and (paws crossed) she’ll let the doctor actually get his hands on her again!

Anyway, I thought this was a good time to share a bit from the book COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT, especially since the last few Feline Fridays focused on youngsters.

WHAT IS OLD?

What is considered “old” for a cat? The question of what is old is complicated by the impact of genetics, environment, and individual characteristics. Consider human beings: one person may act, look and feel “old” at 65 while another 65-year-old remains an active athlete with a youthful attitude and appearance. The same is true for our cats.

“I think that actually varies a lot, and it’s getting older every year,” says Rhonda Schulman, DVM, an internist at the University of Illinois. “It used to be that eight was the major cutoff for the cat that was geriatric. Now we’re moving to the point that’s a prolonged middle age.” According to Guinness World Records, the oldest cat on record was Creme Puff owned by Jake Perry of Austin, Texas. Cream Puff was born August 3, 1967 and still living at the age of 37 in 2004.

A good definition of old age for an animal is the last 25 percent of their lifespan, says Sarah K. Abood, DVM a clinical nutritionist at Michigan State University. However, since we can’t predict what an individual cat’s lifespan will be, the beginning of old age is a bit arbitrary. Certain families of cats may be longer lived than others, in the same way that some human families enjoy a much greater longevity than others. The lifespan of your cat’s parents and grandparents is a good predictor of how long you can expect your cat to live. People who share their lives with pedigreed cats may be able to access this information through the cat’s breeder.

Seren "Editing"

She's not a pedigreed Siamese--only a wannabe--so really there's no way to predict longevity. A friend's cat (we think a littermate) died over a year ago . . .

PREDICTING LONGEVITY

Longevity of unknown heritage cats are much more difficult to predict. Even when felines are “part” Siamese or Persian, for example, these felines may inherit the very worst, or the very best, from the parents. The majority of pet cats are domestic shorthair or domestic longhair kitties of mixed ancestry, and the products of unplanned breeding. That by itself points to a poorer-than-average level of health for the parents, which in turn would be passed on to the kittens. Siblings within the same litter may have different fathers, and can vary greatly in looks, behavior, and health. When all is said and done, one should expect the random-bred cat-next-door kitty to be neither more nor less healthy than their pedigreed ancestors—as long as they all receive the same level of care and attention.

“If you get a kitten, it is very likely you will have this cat for the next 15 to 20 years,” says Dr. Abood. That means the last 25 percent would be 12 to 15 years. To simplify matters, most veterinarians consider cats to be “senior citizens” starting at about seven to eight years old, and geriatric at 14 to 15.

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Catnip and a sun bath can be great fun for old kitties.

Here’s some perspective comparing cat age to human age. “The World Health Organization says that middle-aged folks are 45 to 59 years of age and elderly is 60 to 74. They considered aged as being over 75,” says Debbie Davenport, DVM, an internist with Hill’s Pet Foods. “If you look at cats of seven years of age as being senior, a parallel in human years would be about 51 years,” she says. A geriatric cat at 10 to 12 years of age would be equivalent to a 70-year-old human.

CHERISHING OLD KITTIES

Veterinarians used to concentrate their efforts on caring for young animals. When pets began to develop age-related problems, the tendency among American owners was to just get another pet. That has changed, and today people cherish their aged furry companions and want to help them live as long as possible.

Modern cats age seven and older can still live full, happy and healthy lives. Age is not a disease. Age is just age, says Sheila McCullough, DVM, an internist at University of Illinois. “There are a lot of things that come with age that can be managed successfully, or the progression delayed. Renal failure cats are classic examples.” It’s not unusual for cats suffering kidney failure to be diagnosed in their late teens or even early twenties.

“I had a woman with a 23-year-old cat who asked should she change the diet. I said, don’t mess with success!” says Dr. McCullough. These days veterinarians often see still-healthy and vital cats of a great age. “I think if the cat lives to 25 years, I shouldn’t be doing anything but saying hello,” says Steven L. Marks, BVSc, an internist and surgeon at Louisiana State University (now at North Carolina State University). “If you’ve ever had a pet live that long, you want them all to live that long.”

 Excerpt from COMPLETE CARE FOR YOUR AGING CAT, revised and updated Kindle Edition by Amy D. Shojai, CABC. 

So do you have an “old” cat? Does he or she act like a senior? What age did you notice a change, if any? Seren now has a few white hairs surrounding her eyelids, made visible by the dark mask. And she’s got some arthritis so she doesn’t leap as high any more. A couple of her claws have thickened and require more frequent trims since she has trouble pulling them in (she “clicks” when she walks on hard surfaces). But keeping the dog in line seems to keep her very happy and engaged in life! What about yours? Please share!

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