Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catty Holiday Ideas

If you love celebrating the holidays with gift giving then of course you want to include the cutest, furriest member of your family -  your kitty! The fun part of gifting with your kitties is watching them enjoy their latest toy or treat. Indoor cats can easily suffer from boredom, particularly if you are away from home a lot. They also need activities that are feline specific, such as hunting, nesting and caving. Whatever your budget you can discover some new catty things to enrich and stimulate. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A well built kitty condo/scratcher. This is an investment that you cat will enjoy for many years. A large kitty condo is ideal for not only exercising and napping but marking out as kitty territory (kitties scent mark with their paws and temples). This means you don't pile laundry or junk on top of it as it belongs to the cats! I highly recommend placing it in front of a window where kitties can watch birds and squirrels and get some sunshine. If you have dogs or small children, a condo with a cubby on top is perfect for kitties to cave in. Check out Mud Bay (multiple locations), Cats Exclusive cat store in Shoreline, or hauspanther.com for groovy designs
  • Freeze dried salmon or chicken instead of grocery store treats made with questionable ingredients. Dried salmon and chicken is pure protein and by far the favorite treat of most kitties. Cat-man-doo or Wildside are two excellent brands. For kitties without many teeth these can easily be crushed into a dish. Fish flakes (bonito) also make a great treat and can be found at any Asian foods store, as well as pet food stores.
  • A heated bed, especially if you have an older kitty. A cat's body temperature is naturally higher than ours and given how much they sleep, what could be more comforting than a warm bed? If you program your thermostat so that the heat doesn't run much while you are at work or asleep then a heated bed is a must. These are safe to leave on 24/7, and some are activated only when kitty rests on them.
  • Organic catnip. Buy a big tub and place a bit on their scratcher before you head out the door each day or make your own toys. Here's my top DIY project: Take a large wool sock or sweater sleeve and wash it so that it "felts" slightly. This will prevent your cat from tearing it up easily. Then stuff it with sweater scraps or cotton and LOTS of catnip. Stitch up the end, easy peasy. Here is a kitty named Trout kicking and "killing" his wool "animal!"
  • Some safety reminders for the season: Remember to forgo tinsel on your tree and make sure your cat cannot access the tree water, as these can both be very harmful. Buy cat grass at Whole Foods to distract your kitty from the tree. If you plan to have folks over and you don't allow your cat outside, it's best to set him up a room for the duration of the party. Put a sign on the door that says PRIVATE. Cat friendly guests can visit with your kitty in his room and you won't have to worry about his safety. Many kitties prefer quiet time over a group of strangers anyway. 
  • Feliway Comfort Zone plug-ins can help if your cat is stressed from guests. Avoid scented candles, Glade plug-ins and infuser sticks as these are incredibly strong for sensitive kitty and doggy noses. These products may contain up to 1,500 chemicals, including petroleum, and formaldehyde, contributing to breathing problems and headaches in the short run. Keep your environment fragrance free for the kitties!
Best to you and your Kitties in the holiday season!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Paw Project

Cat advocates everywhere, from Purrfect Pals Cat Shelter & Sanctuary to Jackson Galaxy, support the Paw Project. This non-profit organization was founded by a veterinarian and hosts an impressive board of veterinarians throughout the U.S. and Canada, all working to educate cat guardians about declawing. The Paw Project team led successful campaigns to ban declawing of domestic cats in these California cities: West Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Burbank, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Beverly Hills and Culver City, as well as getting a CA state bill passed outlawing the declawing of all exotic and big cats. The Paw Project also funds and facilitates reparative surgery on big cats in sanctuaries who have suffered mutilating declaw jobs earlier in their lives.

Declawing is illegal in many countries in the E.U. and a lot of U.S. veterinarians won't perform these surgeries. Unfortunately other vets continue to offer these services for fear of losing a client, out of concern for the cat who the guardian may decide to dump at a shelter or simply because they want the money. Ironically many declawed kitties DO end up being surrendered to a shelter because they become unpredictable biters or refuse to use their litter box, probably because of chronic pain. Alternatives to declawing, which don't result in permanent disfigurement (and cost a lot less) include temporary nail cap, regular nail trims, fun scratcher boxes and posts throughout the house, and slipcovering your furniture.

You can watch the Paw Project film by renting or purchasing it via online providers or NetFlix, or by making a $10 donation you can receive a DVD. The film doesn't have bloody, gruesome images but it is heart-breaking to watch debilitated big cats who have endured so much at the hands of humans as "pets" and performers.  The website offers down loadable education materials and actual case studies.  This is a great charity to support with year-end donations!

Paw Project.org

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's National Feral Cat Day!

    Every October 16th, I write about the underdog kitties, the cats most shelters kill, often even before a stray hold is up because they may pose a "danger to the staff." One this day, we fly the feral flag for the felines who may technically be homeless, the"community cats," the shadow cats sleeping on porches or in garages and being fed by caring folks who have a soft heart. These cats are often held responsible for dwindling songbird populations, messing in gardens, and creating havoc for the indoor cats who see them in the yard. People might think they are doing the right thing nabbing a stray cat to take him to the local shelter. The reality is that between 60-70% of cats who end up in shelters do not make it out alive. 

    The term "feral" can mean many different things to a variety of people. I've seen the most gentle kitties turn absolutely livid at the vet's office and I've seen undersocialized cats remain stoic and almost catatonic during an exam, nail trim and blood draw. An animal shelter is usually full of strange sounds, sights and smells, such as those of dogs who are natural predators for cats. Very few cats will be able to relax in an environment like that. Shelter vets and staff do their best to evaluate temperaments but they may be rushed, exhausted, more skilled with understanding dog behaviors, or the shelter may simply be full up to capacity. Modern shelters are moving to group housing instead of individual caging, so that potential adopters can see how the kitties interact with each other and in a more home-like setting. But even then, some cats will choose to hide from new people and people are naturally attracted to the friendly or exotic felines. The shy kitties don't get picked for off-site adoption events or public appearances either. So you can begin to see how challenging it is to be a sensitive kitty vying for a great home when the odds are stacked against you from the get-go. Such is the case of Howard and Charlotte, two kitties I have the honor of sitting for. 

    We will never know where Dorothy came from but given how social she was once she was given a real home she was likely left behind when someone moved or dumped off once they realized she was pregnant. Howard and Charlotte, along with their siblings, ended up being very fortunate little kittens and were rescued from a life outdoors along with Dorothy. Not all of the kittens found a home immediately but at least they were well fed and warm (and spayed/ neutered). Then a miracle happened and the remaining kittens DID get homes, and Howard and Charlotte and Dorothy were reunited! Read the full story below, as told by their wonderful (human) mom and a friend to all animals as well. 

Charlotte & Howard

Dorothy & Charlotte

L-R: Dorothy, Charlotte & Howard

    Seven years ago, the cat who would become our kitty Dorothy had kittens in my dad’s woodpile in Vancouver. She wasn’t a feral cat, but was definitely a shy stray.  She had previously had another litter of kittens in my dad’s yard, but was only seen when she was moving the kittens out.  Sadly, we don’t know the fate of those kittens.  However, when Dorothy was discovered with another batch of four babies, my stepmom went to work on socializing her.  My dad moved the kittens to a sheltered bed on their covered porch, and Dorothy would come to tend her babies there where it was dry and warmer.  It was November and the weather was starting to turn colder.  My stepmom could have gotten the kittens to a shelter earlier, but she wanted to keep Dorothy with them and Dorothy was not ready to be captured.  After a few more weeks of a lot of care and love, and with a large snow storm looming, my stepmom was able to get all of the kittens and Dorothy into a carrier.  My dad and stepmom were concerned about their elderly indoor cats and weren’t comfortable bringing the cats inside their house, so we came up with the best plan we could at the time.  Working with a shelter, we decided that the kittens would go into foster care and be put up for adoption, and that my husband and I would come down and adopt Dorothy, the mom.  At the time, we already had other cats and a dog and didn’t feel that we could adopt all five of the new cats.  So, on Christmas day, a volunteer at the shelter opened up for us and we were able to bring Dorothy home.  We kept in touch with the shelter, and one of the kittens was quickly adopted.  We were assured that the other three would also quickly get homes.  The kittens were shortly removed from the website and we assumed they were adopted.  Dorothy, meanwhile, had blossomed to be one of the most affectionate cats we have ever had. She loves to give and receive attention and quickly bonded with our other cats.

    Two and a half years later, my dad sent me an email to say that he thought Dorothy’s kittens were back on the website.  It turned out that of the three remaining kittens, two were still living at the shelter and one had only recently been adopted.  We drove down that weekend to get Howard and Charlotte and bring them back home to their mom.  It turns out that they weren’t the most social of kittens, probably due to their rough beginning, and they had also had a parasite issue after arriving at the shelter.  I think that as they grew out of their kitten hood, they may have been less appealing to potential adopters.  It sounds like they weren’t the type of cats that would run up to a stranger and try to get attention, so they probably hid in the background as other cats were adopted before them.
    It has been about four and a half years now since Dorothy and her two babies were reunited.  I believe she recognized them right away, and they are together constantly now.  They love to groom each other and cuddle and sleep together and I am so happy they are together.  Howard and Charlotte have a good life, but still remain pretty shy.  Charlotte lets me pick her up, but rarely lets my husband pick her up.   Howard will approach us at certain times of the day and certain situations, but it has to be on his terms.  One glorious day Howard had dental work and came home extensively drugged.  He was blissfully unaware of what was going on that day, and I was able to hug and hold him to my heart’s desire.  Then he came to his senses and was back to his reserved self.

   Diane asked me to write about Dorothy and her kittens to share how much joy these cats have brought to our lives.  I know we did the right thing in adopting them every time I see them curled up together.  They aren’t feral, but they could have ended up that way.  They also could have ended up staying in the shelter for several more years before someone gave them a chance, simply because they weren’t the cats that were the most approachable. I never have regretted adopting Dorothy and her kittens.  My only regret, and one that makes me profoundly sad, is that we made the decision seven years ago to leave the kittens in the shelter, and only bring Dorothy home that Christmas.  I was nervous that we would end up with too many cats, and we wouldn’t be able to handle it.  When I see Dorothy, Howard, and Charlotte together and how much they clearly love each other, I wish that they hadn’t had those two and a half years apart.  I also wish that the whole family could be together, and hope that her other kittens have found good homes and are well loved.
So please, when you think about all of the cats out there waiting to be brought home to love, consider those shy cats.  Chances are, they really want to be part of a family and will blossom when they learn to trust you.  Maybe you won’t be able to hold them as much as you would like, but they can still bring a huge amount of love and joy into your life. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Great Catio

I sit for some lucky kitties who have a fabulous enclosed "catio" and with permission from my clients, am sharing photos so other kitty guardians can get ideas on how to make safe outdoor spaces their own cats. This back yard is quite small but still contains lots of fun elements for kitties when weather allows for outdoor time. There are plenty of resting areas off the ground so kitties can feel secure. There are no trees large enough for a kitty to climb and jump over (the Japanese Maple will stay petite). This enclosure is designed to be utilized only when their people are home to open the back slider, so there isn't a lock on the back gate but that could be added for extra security. Outdoor time is not only enriching and stimulating but direct sunshine is vital to kitty health. Building a secured area such as this one is a minimal investment that will offer years of enjoyment for your whole family.

Here's a view of the back door - a slider with a screen door. The screen 
has a little cat door in it so kitties can choose in or out when the slider is open.

The framing has a nylon/plastic mesh that would be very difficult for a kitty to climb.

The yard contains several large, flat rock - perfect for Annabelle and Luna to sun themselves on.
Luna explores the side yard. The bench is another ideal spot for sunning and napping, 
as well as for humans to relax.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Orange Kitties!


Orange (or red) tabbies are iconic in American culture. They seem to represent a resilient and hard working spirit that many people identify with. Usually male, orange felines are often short-haired and incredibly healthy and hearty. I sit for an orange boy who is 21 years young and still going strong!

I've gathered some inspiring stories specifically about orange kitties who have demonstrated remarkable determination, perseverance, and dedication. These kitties act as ambassadors for all cats; hopefully they change the minds of those who think they don't like cats while enriching the lives of everyone around them.

This tiny orange kitten  was rescued on the road and is enjoying an exciting vagabond lifestyle under the protection of his person before eventually heading home.

Erik the Red's career as a ship's "mouser" is long and impressive. Read about his retirement party: orange cat retires

Tommy saved his person during a medical emergency when he called for help: orange cat calls 911

This story makes you wonder about humans but has a happy ending. Witness two darling and brave orange kittens rescued when they decide to take matters into their own paws.

Bubba is a mascot of sorts for this high school in California. His presence is likely therapeutic for stressed out students: orange campus cat

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fall is just around the corner and the squirrels are entertaining us with their busy-ness. It's a good time to dig out the cozy blankets and plug in the heated beds for the kitties. It's also a good time to clean out your linen closet and donate old towels for my Towel Drive for the Feral Cat Spay & Neuter Project. They need clean towels to place in the traps and carriers the kitties go back into directly after their surgery. The FCSNP offers very low or no cost surgeries for all unfixed felines, from house cats to community cats. They now have a van to help even more kitties get to the clinic in Lynnwood, in case their people cannot drive.

I will be gathering towels through the end of October. If I am not scheduled to kitty sit at your house I may be able to swing by and pick up your donations or you can drop them off at my house; please contact me. Thank you!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cecil, the Famous Lion

Cecil, R.I.P.

By now, everyone has heard the sad story of Cecil the lion. He was murdered by a wealthy trophy hunter from the U.S. in an agonizing 40 hour ordeal  in Zimbabwe. This man now faces possible extradition and prison time, and may not be able to continue his dental practice in his hometown due to the publicity surrounding this horrific killing. Past charges of illegally killing a bear and paying a very minimal penalty evidently didn't instill a sense of integrity, let alone compassion. The only bright spot is that the general public is now keenly aware of just how disgusting "trophy hunting" is and how precious wild animals are. Cecil was a protector of his pride and like all animals, he had a unique role within his family. He mattered as an individual by acting as an ambassador for Zimbabwe wildlife and within the structure of his lion culture. The entire world has reacted and is seeking some small justice for Cecil and greater protection for other animals. Finally, killing exotic and large animals merely to satisfy a violent and egotistical desire is finally being exposed and society is not accepting it as a norm. The $50,000 Cecil's killer paid to access him could have gone a long way in habitat conservation or sanctuary support for animals who cannot be returned to the wild. (Check out Big Cat Rescue if you want to see gorgeous felines who are no longer being exploited and are peacefully living out their lives in sunny Florida.)

Below is a link to a petition to asking that vulnerable species such as lions be excluded from legal hunting:
petition to International Union for Conservation of Nature

Most people would never dream of hunting any animals as recreation, but when on vacation they may encounter situations involving animals that are difficult to judge. Obviously Sea World and any park or zoo that allows interactions with animals and has them "trained" to do tricks should never be patronized. But check out this website from World Animal Protection to learn more about tourism and animals. WAP also has an animal-friendly travel guide you can download. Your dollars speak so spend them wisely to help animals!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tabby Extravaganza!

Tabbies are the true "moggies." Their coats help them to blend in with just about any environment, making them the ideal feral cat and allowing them greater cover when hunting. 
Tabbies are classic cats and always in style!

Odin (L) and Adian (R) as kittens. They were not socialized to humans and did their best to stay as far away as possible from me; in this case I would have needed a ladder to reach them!
Odin and Adian at 5 YO, relaxing on a chaise lounge in the sunshine.

Darling Jane was trapped as a very small kitten and is now 16 YO (note the tufted ear tips).

This handsome tabby is Rutger. He was trapped at the Seattle Centre about 15 years ago (hence the ear tip). He is the strong/ silent type and favors sardines and fresh catnip on the stem.

Rosemary has a very rich history (see her story in the October posting for National Feral Cat Day). 
She is a adored by everyone who meets her and especially enjoys acupuncture treatments.

Maisy is obsessed with having her "outdoor time" during our visits. 
Here she is enjoying a warm Spring morning.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June is Adopt a Cat Month!

Look at this happy kitty... Every kitty deserves a loving home like Roy enjoys. This month, as animal shelters become inundated by litters of kittens, consider adding (another) feline to your home. Many shelters are offering specials this month, such as MEOW where you choose what to pay, or PAWS which is offering free adoptions for adult cats. Even paying full price at a shelter is an incredible bargain when you add up the costs of altering (spays can run upwards of $500 at some veterinarians), vaccinations, and micro chipping. Sometimes pet insurance is even included for a brief time to encourage the adopter to continue on with the pet policy. If you are stuck on certain breeds of cats keep checking the website or ask to be put on a wait list at a shelter. Keep in mind however that no cat is likely judging YOU on the color of your hair and eyes or how old you are. Love comes in all shapes and sizes right?

Check out some of the local shelters via these links:
PAWS cat adoptions
MEOW cat adoptions
Seattle Animal Shelter Cats

Many kitties choose their own person. What to do if a stray kitty shows up at your home or work place? If the kitty does not have a collar, take him or her to any vet clinic and ask to have the kitty scanned for a microchip. This is free and you generally don't need an appointment since it only takes a few minutes with a technician. If no chip, take the kitty home and make him or comfortable but ask around your neighborhood and look for posters of lost cats. Many neighborhoods have emails lists or FB pages that work well for information exchange of lost and found animals. If no one appears to be searching for the kitty then warm to the idea to you may well be adopted by this kitty. A detailed veterinary exam is probably the next step. Fortunately there are lots of low cost spay/neuter options around if you rather use the extra cash to buy a luxurious kitty condo, plush beds and loads of premium food to spoil the poor kitty who was wandering around for who knows how long looking for someone like you.

Adopt a cat or let a cat adopt you, either way this is one long term relationship that will always be sweet and puurfect.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Typical Weekend

Did you do anything fun over the long weekend? I am definitely not a camper or an avid traveler (I am a terrible traveler actually). So this past holiday weekend I was more than happy to hang out with lots of different kitties in their homes. We had sunshine, catnip, all was good! Check out some of the darling faces of my KittyStar clients.

Bobo is a classic "tuxedo" kitty. He is naturally very photogenic,
plus he is easily captivated by Da Bird toy!

Seamus is a big, handsome boy but he likes to get a little too close to the camera. He
 shares his home with Coconut (below).

Coconut is a super sweet torbi - she just looks like grumpy cat in this picture.

Sushi is ultra shiny and sleek. He loves his catnip! 

Purrsey and Cassie are longtime KittyStar clients. They are two of the nicest, 
most well-behaved kitties I have met (good genetics all around).

Sami is a stunning, blue-eyed Siamese who lives the charmed life a glamor queen. Hard to believe that at one time she was a stray or abandoned momcat having her kittens underneath 
a house.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

More Big Cat news

ban big game hunting trophies on Delta airlines

Good news is the fight to stop the killing of endangered and threatened species - An animal advocate and Delta frequent flier has started a petition asking the airline to ban all big game hunting "trophies" (dead animal carcasses and parts!) on their flights from Africa. South Africa Airways has already implemented a similar ban. Reducing the chances of smuggled illegal cargo, such as ivory from murdered elephants, is also a plus to such a ban.

Wildlife viewing safaris are more lucrative and obviously far more sustainable than allowing wealthy hunters to pay for the privilege of killing animals simply for the sake of their inflated ego. As more people become aware of the plight of wildlife due to trophy hunting, poaching, and destruction/reduction of their habitat, tourists will hopefully choose to shoot photographs and not weapons. If you like the look of wildlife in your living room, check out all the fabulous faux animal heads crafted to be completely cruelty-free (and much less expensive than a run to Africa).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Big Cats in Peril

FSC-certified products

It's a sad fact that only about 3,000 tigers remain living in the wild. Learn how your everyday choices such as buying paper products for your office and the bigger ticket purchases you make, such as remodeling your kitchen, can impact tigers. Make the effort to seek out FSC-certified goods and if the stores you patronize don't carry such items (or simply don't know), communicate that it's an important factor in your buying decisions. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More Wisdom from Jackson


"Cat Whisperer" Jackson Galaxy has created a new foundation that will be heading into shelters to increase cat-positive environments and reward forward thinking about felines. Maintaining lots of vertical space for kitties to utilize (AKA the cat super highway) in a large, open area and ditching the individual cages is clearly the way modern shelters house their adoptable kitties. Interested people can better envision how a cat may behave in their home when they meet them in this type of environment and how well they get along with the others. Jackson also points out that modern shelters are integrating FIV+ kitties with non-FIV felines in efforts to shake off the stigma often associated with the FIV virus. (I sit for several integrated households and the only households who separate cats do so because of personality conflicts, not FIV status.) Jackson also wants to spread the word on trap/neuter/return of feral cats, and increasing spay/neuter and adoption opportunities. Currently up to 60% of  cats retained in conventional shelters do not make it out alive. By working on all these fronts, the number of cats killed in U.S. shelters will hopefully decrease. Please encourage everyone you know to adopt from a shelter and not purchase an animal from a breeder if they are thinking about bringing a companion animal into their home.

Roy is a big fan of Jackson!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spring (almost)!

Spring has hit Seattle a couple of weeks early and everyone is relishing it. Many North westerners are avid hikers and campers and most probably take along a canine buddy, not a feline. But there's actually a growing trend of kitty hikers, including Honeybee the local famous sight impaired cutie. Harness training your cat is the first step and obviously not all cats will be comfortable leaving the safety of their yard once they gets used to the harness or jacket and lead. (Going out into wide open spaces is actually against survival instincts since cats may be prey for larger species.) The important thing to remember is that you will have to go at your kitty's level of comfort and abilities and think safety first. Some cats would rather lounge on the deck a few feet from the back door in case they need to go inside to use the litter box or get too warm, like Rosemary. Fresh air and sunshine is the best tonic for any S.A.D. feelings we've accumulated over the winter months, whether hiking or hanging out. Enjoy!

I already exercised today, honest...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cats who eat Plastic...


Here's an article that discusses strange eating habits some cats possess, which may sometimes be dangerous to their intestinal health. Offering toys which alleviate boredom, such as treat balls you can fill with a few tablespoons of dry or freeze-dried crunchies, can help deter harmful eating habits. Dr. Schaible, the author of the piece above, mentions offering a variety of texture treats for cats with these habits; just remember to only buy American sourced rawhide type products as the products coming from China are considered unsafe and often deadly. Cat grass and catnip plants are two things you can confidently allow your kitty to help himself to of course.

Being extremely conscientious about never leaving out rubber bands, strips of packaging or very small puffs that can be swallowed is also important. For felines who like to suck wool, take an old fashioned heavy wool sock, fill with some catnip and tie at the end. Changing out toys and routinely offering new items keeps their days interesting. Many cats love to "hunt" small items and will caterwaul while they carry them around. Stuffed mice or similar little soft toys are great for this type of play and usually too large to be swallowed. They are even better when they've "marinated" in a tin of catnip for a while beforehand. One of my kitties, Jane, has left her toys on my slippers and shoes since she was a kitten. I love finding her little gifts in my shoes!

Cat friendly catnip

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Catification - Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) is a must read for all cat guardians. Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet's My Cat from Hell fame and Kate Benjamin, founder of Hauspanther.com, a cat design website, help you to better understand how felines navigate their indoor world and how multiple kitties can live together more harmoniously. Thinking about your cat in terms of a bush dweller, beach dweller or tree dweller and your home as "the vertical world" affords you a new point of view. For example, will your cats be using a kitty condo as a destination or rest stop or as an on/off ramp to get to a super highway? Climbers and condos placed in dark corners or unused areas of the home often go unused by the cats as well because it's boring. Placing the climber in front of a sunny, south-facing window with an unobstructed view make it highly desirable and encourage "time-sharing." Heated beds such as the one pictured with Roy (above) act as a cocoon but still allow you to be within sight and sound of each other, unlike a "cave."

Using case histories from Mr. Galaxy's practice and actual homes where people and their cats live, this book presents a variety of enriching and fun features to inexpensively build. If you are renting there are options you can take with you and don't require structural changes to a room. If you are fortunate enough to have a window box style bump-out or high ceilings with areas built in that could be used as kitty shelves then modifying these to give your cat easy access and make them comfortable would be an afternoon project. Something as simple as hanging bird feeders outside where your cats can watch can help alleviate tension and boredom while you are at work all day. There are also several catios featured and one that makes perfect senses in an urban environment.

Remember that catification is an evolving process and as you make changes you can gauge what works and what doesn't in your home. Watching your fur-kids have fun on their own special cat stuff and act on their innate cat behaviors at the same time is so much more positive than trying to "correct" a behavior they love but you don't. Catification should be required reading for all feline guardians, as there is something to be learned even if you consider yourself an experienced cat lover!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cheetahs Up Close!


I love all cats, big and small but cheetahs are especially fascinating. For one thing, they are the fastest land animals and can reach a top speed of 70 MPH in just 3 seconds. From the experiences this photographer had in the Serengeti, they are also as curious and playful as many house cats!

Sadly, cheetahs have disappeared from more than 75% of their natural range. Learn more about the declining numbers of all the big cats and how humans can help here:
Check out the incredible pictures of a variety of beautiful, wild animals. Watching National Geographic footage is far more educational than gawking at captive animals in zoos. You get a sense of the vast amount of space these animals inhabit and realize that zoos can never provide anything close to a natural environment, even with "enrichment." Yes, nature films can be difficult to watch since big cats are carnivores but I feel far sadder knowing these animals are pacing in their enclosures for the rest of their lives in every city zoo around the world. We can't all go on safaris to see wild animals being wild but we all have Internet access and can choose not support Woodland Park Zoo.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Recycle to Help Animals


The new year is a great time to clean out your closets and unload all the things you've collected (or been gifted) that no longer fit you or your lifestyle. Donating to a thrift store that helps animals is a win-win for everyone. Bella's Voice in Lynnwood accepts clothing, books, toys, household items, even furniture and then donates profits to several animal charities around Puget Sound. They are open every day and located next to the Feral Cat Spay & Neuter Project which is one of the charities they support. Prices are quite low and they even have sales on color tags so you may also enjoy shopping there!