Sunday, March 17, 2019

Free Feline Behavior/Enrichment Class!

Ever wonder why your kitty wakes you up at 5 AM, walks on the counters, or turns his nose up at his dinner? Do you worry that your kitty is bored or being destructive when you are away from home? Do you want to make your senior kitty more comfortable and help maintain his or her activity level? Gain insights on innate feline behaviors and how you can provide mental stimulation and environmental enrichment to create a happier, richer life for your kitty. Learn how nutrition can affect cat behavior as well. Nancy and Diane will address your questions and challenges about living with cats. Free kitty goodie bags to take home!

Saturday, April 13th, 2019 1-3pm 
NOAH Events Center
31300 Brandstrom Rd
Stanwood, WA 98292

Nancy Howard is the owner of The Whole Cat and Kaboodle and Cafe Cocoa- two cat resource stores in the greater Seattle area. The mission of the business is to help cat owners see the world from their pets perspective. They offer grooming, boarding, nutrition, behavior modification as well as adopting out cats from local rescues and area shelters. Nancy also founded the feral cat sanctuary, Sanctuary at Hidden Creek Ranch, in Bothell in 2000. This space is home to over 100 feral, and otherwise unadoptable cats. Whole Cat website

Diane Venberg operates KittyStar Services for Cats on Camano Island, offering in-home visits for companion animals, assistance with medications and hydration for kidney issues, and behavioral/enrichment consultations. As a professional pet sitter and former volunteer with the Feral Cat Spay & Neuter Project, she has over 20 years of experience working with and caring for felines of all ages and personalities. Along with her mother, Diane founded Flower Feline Sanctuary, which offers a life-long home to senior and special needs kitties. Flower Feline Sanctuary website

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Transporting your Kitty

We recently had two kitties who required surgery; Ally had a dental procedure with six extractions and Coco had a mass removed from her eyelid. Thankfully, they are both recovering fine. The multiple trips to the veterinarian were probably the most stressful factor for all of us, humans and kitties alike. There are ways to reduce your cat's anxiety, motion sickness, and reluctance to even allow you to place her in a carrier. While not every trick will help every kitty, hopefully you can find a combination of measures that help calm your kitty and make traveling a bit more pleasant.

1. Use the right carrier for your cat. A top and front loading crate will make it easier if your cat uses her legs to brace herself when you attempt to put her into the carrier. Rigid plastic is easy to clean if your kitty is a nervous pee-er or a senior kitty who cannot always hold her urine. A soft carrier, such as a Sherpa brand, often has a full zip top. This means you can totally unzip it, nudge your slightly suspicious kitty onto the soft "bed," and then rapidly zip the top with your hand on her back to hold her there. Because these type of carriers cannot be cleaned very well, I recommend putting piddle pads inside under a towel in case of accidents. Bring a plastic bag and extra blankets in case there is a #2 accident and you need to pull over (been there). 

2. Spray the carrier and blankets with Feliway Comfort Zone an hour before loading kitty. Spray your car a bit too. 

3. Try Rescue Remedy flower essences on your kitty's temples before the trip. The formula made for animals doesn't have alcohol in it so they won't even smell it. 

4. If you have a kitty who was/is somewhat feral or works herself up by howling for the entire trip (been there too!), resort to Gabapentin. Your veterinarian can prescribe this and it's inexpensive. You can even get it compounded if you have better luck with liquid meds. My tabby twins will usually eat something tasty such as baby food with a capsule mixed in and not notice it. Note that this drug often needs at least two hours to reach a noticeable effect. CBD may also help if you wish to experiment with the variety of products made specifically for pets.

5. Since I moved to a colder climate and my kitties are mostly geriatric, we use a cuddle disc under the blankets inside the crate. Alternatively, you could warm blankets in the drier before placing them in the crate (NEVER use drier sheets with fragrances and chemicals around cats).

6. Always cover the carrier when walking to and from the car, to reduce the feeling of being exposed and unprotected. If you go to a veterinarian that also sees dogs, keep the crate covered until you are bot in the exam room. Obviously if it is very warm out, use common sense and make sure your cat doesn't get overheated. 

I've read that the safest place to put your crated kitty while driving is on the floor of the back seat. My car doesn't allow for this so I put the crates in the back seat area where the kitties can both see and hear me talking to them. Some newer carriers can be secured with the seatbelt, such as SleepyPod brands. If I had to purchase a carrier for air travel or wanted to splurge on a luxury carrier, these would be my choice. Safe travels!

Our favorite carriers

Monday, December 17, 2018

Happy Holidays!

Bramwell and Christina help string up some lights 

Christina with Rudolph

The shortest day of the year at the end of the week means a lot of darkness during our waking hours. Fairy lights help make the early evenings less dreary and the kitties love them. (Just use caution if you have kittens or a kitty who chews and secure the lights where kitties cannot access.) Everyone knows cats love Christmas trees  - all those dangling toys hanging from a tree right in the living room! You don't need to spend a lot of money of store bought toys to make your kitty happy. Everyone also knows that cats love boxes too! Create a play gym out of boxes with cut-out tunnels and tape it securely together. Add a sprinkle of catnip and your cat will likely spend hours in it. Be sure to keep pieces of ribbon and string picked up after gifts are opened, as any veterinarian will tell you that cats can swallow these and surgery is usually necessary to extricate the foreign matter. Most kitties enjoy nibbling on fresh grass and actually derive some digestive benefits from it. Growing you own cat grass is easy once you get the hang out it. You can buy a kit, then buy wheat in any bulk food section at the grocery store and re-use the pot and lid to keep on growing.

If you decide to splurge for your kitty, consider a sturdy cat tree that will provide your kitty exercise and fun for many years to come. Look for a locally made one instead of one made in China, so that you can sure the materials are safe and you can support a local crafts person. NOAH in Stanwood sells beautiful cat trees in their lobby at prices that are quite a value: NOAH Center.

Shopping for a cat lover on your list? A donation to a cat charity in their name is a wonderful gift with a big impact. Donating cash, or supplies via their Amazon wish list, helps kitties get spayed or neutered, adopted into loving homes, or warm and well fed in a safe sanctuary space.

Wishing you and your kitties a healthy and happy New Year ahead!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Happy Autumn

Misha, Cole and Odin share a heated bed in the sunshine on a cool autumn afternoon.
As the weather turns chilly and we start to think about the upcoming holidays and new year, it's both a time to prepare and look back. With Election Day behind us, we can be proud as Americans that Florida will enact a ban on greyhound racing and 11 tracks in that state will close forever. Like animal based circuses such as Ringling Bros., attendance was down making it unprofitable to continue to exploit animals. Even China closed it's only legal dog track earlier this summer and volunteers are working on getting the dogs placed into loving homes. In California, Prop 12 passed by a landslide, and will require that eggs, veal and pork sold in that state come only from cage-free animals. This historic law will hopefully set a precedence for the rest of the country as more consumers become educated to the atrocities of factory farming and demand changes. (In Washington State, a 2011 bill eliminated a total phase out of battery cages for egg laying hens along with mandatory enrichment, such as having perches available, by 2026.)

November is often a busy month with preparation for either traveling, house guests, or both. It's definitely time to book for pet sitting if you are going to be away. Choose a professional sitter who pet sits as a career and not just a part-time job, has years of animal care experience along with references from folks whose companion animals she has cared for over the years, and has insurance in case something in your home gets accidentally damaged or your pet gets injured while in her care. If you will be home and hosting guests, be sure to put your dogs and kitties' collar and tags on - splurge on a cute, new collar so they look their best for the party! Some kitties may do best however not actually attending but lounging in a quiet room closed off from noisy guests. Be watchful that your dogs or cats do not get into food or drinks that will make them ill. "People food" isn't necessarily bad for them, but ingesting rich, fatty food, alcohol, sweets (especially xylitol and dark chocolate) and cooked poultry bones could require a trip to the emergency clinic.

I'm sure your kitties will be tops on the list of everyone and everything you feel grateful for in your life. Our companion animals provide us with unconditional love, help us relax (petting a sweet, furry animal can actually lower your heart rate), and entertain us with their antics and expressions. They truly are "our sunshine" on dark and stormy Northwest days.

Have a cozy autumn!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Help Support the Kitties!

Visit our our table at the Holiday Gift & Craft Bazaar on November 17th, from 9am-4pm at the Camano Center. We will be selling unique greeting cards featuring KittyStar and Flower Feline kitties, organic catnip pillows, and beautiful handmade earrings with semi-precious stones and silver or gold filled wire. Buy gifts or a little something for yourself and your kitties while helping artisans do their creative thing!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Flower Feline Sanctuary is live!

Flower Feline Sanctuary is officially open, just ask Ellie, Bramwell, Christina, Bunny and most recently, Riley. The FFS website and blog are ready for viewing too. How can you help the kitties? You can list Flower Feline Sanctuary as your dedicated charity when you shop on Amazon Smile. We also have an Amazon wishlist if you would like to donate supplies. If you are interested in seeing our catio structures for ideas on how to build your own secure kitty enclosures, contact me for a tour. Thanks for caring about kitties!

Co-founders Diane, Geri and Misha, our most senior feline family member

Monday, September 3, 2018

So Long Summer...

As our first summer on Camano winds down, the kitties are still enjoying sunshine and dry days. However, heating pads are plugged back in and extra fleecy beds are employed as the nights have grown chilly. My efforts at vegetable gardening paid off with a great crop of sugar snap peas, green beans, chard, zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I'll continue with squash, kale and onions through winter. I've wanted to grow dahlias for years but lacked the space and sunshine (and ability to kill slugs), so I'm very excited about how easy it was to grow dahlias here. It is so dry here that there are never any slugs in my garden beds!

Kitties will always take priority over my gardening (I do that while they nap). I've been working on Flower Feline Sanctuary as well. Stay tuned for my next post featuring the Flower Feline Sanctuary website and blog! You'll get to read about our new residents and see their cute photos. Hint... Bramwell, pictured below, is one of four new kitties.

Karen enjoys a summer day

Jane dozes in the warm sun

Bramwell nibbles on grass