Monday, December 19, 2016

The Daily Cat Quote

“My cat is not insane, she's just a really good actress.” 
― P.C. CastUntamed

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Is Christmas Shopping Going To The Dogs?

So, what's your cat getting for Christmas this year? If you're like most cat people, you're looking for toys, and you're buying them online.

The most reviewed cat toy on Amazon: The Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, a long "peek-boo-track" with a colorful ball inside.

Going To The Dogs

This year, holiday shoppers are expected to spend an average of $62 each on Christmas gifts for their animal companions, according to a study by SLI Systems, a provider of e-commerce solutions and services for mid-size to large Internet retailers.

But a big chunk of the money, the company found, is going to the dogs. SLI looked at 3.5 million searches on eight pet products websites. Searches containing the word "dog" were 2.5 times more popular than searches for cat items. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Daily Cat Quote

“I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats.” 
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Friday, December 2, 2016

NoBowl Cat Feeding System - Because Every Cat Hunts

NoBowl Cat Feeding System
A "skin" holds the NoBowl cat Feeding System
food container.
So you're thinking your cat's sort of fat and lazy. Here's something that might get him up off the couch and slim him down.

The NoBowl Feeding System provides portion-controlled dry food meals in little plastic containers that fit inside "skins." The skins look and sort of feel like mice.

The idea is to hide the "mice" around the house, so your cat has to hunt for his food.

When he finds it, he can swat the mouse around until all the food falls out, and then he gets to enjoy a small meal.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Certified Humane Cat Food

Open Farm dry cat food is Certified Humane.
Open Farm, a Canadian pet food company, recently introduced its Certified Humane dry cat food in the US market.

To be certified humane, food must come from farms where animals can express such natural behaviors as flapping wings and moving around freely in their environments.

They must also live free of cages and gestation crates and be raised without antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products.

To find out where to buy Open Farm cat food in the US, visit Certified Humane's Where to Shop page.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Let Them Eat Chicken

If cats could prepare their own food, most would choose chicken, the best selling cat food flavor
© Rasulov -
Americans spent $13 billion in the pet specialty market in 2015, and most of that money went to chicken-flavored food.

We'll never know for sure whether cats actually love chicken or whether their humans love it for them, but chicken-flavored wet and dry cat food and treats outsold all other competing protein sources, including fish. And we always thought fish was our cats' favorite.

Now that I think about it, my cats really do prefer chicken.

Except for Sizzle. He'll eat anything I put in front of him, although he's not crazy about beef. 

And Now We Have Prescription Treats

Royal Canin introduces prescription cat treats.
As if prescription food wasn't enough, Royal Canine has introduced prescription treats. I didn't check the ingredients (and really don't want to), but if your cat is on prescription food, you can now get matching urinary treats, gastrointestinal treats, hydrolyzed protein treats for cats with food sensitivities, and satiety treats for cats who are on weight-loss food.
All of these are available only from your veterinarian, of course.

Most vets love prescription food because it's an easy source of steady income. After all, cats have to eat!
But if you're willing to do some research, you can find food that meets your cat's special needs on most pet supply retailers' shelves.

For instance, several cat food manufacturers make wet food with novel proteins for cats with food sensitivities. And the best diet for cats with bladder stones and crystals is all wet food and no dry, even if the wet food is something as simple as Fancy Feast.

New Prescription Food For Cats With Kidney Disease

Blue has introduced new food for cats with kidney disease
© Olga Sapegina |
So your vet wants your cat with kidney disease to eat prescription food, and Royal Canin's and Hills' kidney diets both got an unequivocal paws down. Enter Blue Buffalo, a newcomer to the prescription cat and dog food market.

Blue's KM Kidney + Mobility Support for cats is grain- and gluten-free and comes in both wet and dry food formulas.

The food has controlled levels of protein, phosphorous and sodium. Available only from veterinarians, it was introduced earlier this month.

The company launched its BLUE Natural Natural Veterinary Diets in 2015. Other products in its prescription cat food line include BLUE GI Gastrointestinal Support for Cats and BLUE WU Weight Management and Urinary Care for Cats. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mirtazapine Toxicity In Cats In Retrospect

Does your vet recommend Mirtazapine as an appetite stimulant for cats. This study from the Winn Feline Foundation is worth reading.
Mirtazapine toxicity in cats in retrospect

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Cure For FIP? Clinical Trials Are Underway

Scientists are working on a cure for FIP.
Of all the awful diseases that can affect our cats, FIP is the absolute worst. It's a cruel disease, and it's almost always fatal. But that could be changing.

The first phase of clinical trials for a drug that could cure FIP ended this fall.

In a study published in the March issue of PLOS, researchers at Kansas State University treated eight cats who were sick from FIP with the antiviral protease inhibitor, GC376. Sadly, two of the cats became so sick they were euthanized. But the other six recovered and were still doing well eight months later. And that was just the beginning.

Last winter, in collaboration with the Kansas State Researchers, UC Davis veterinarian Niels Pedersen began the first phase of clinical trials of GC376 with 13 "owned" cats.

FIP Explained

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is caused by a coronavirus that infects almost all kittens. It causes mild diarrhea, and then pretty much disappears. But in some cats, it goes rogue and mutates into the deadly disease we call FIP.

While most FIP victims are kittens, the virus can remain dormant in some cats' bodies for years and doesn't make them sick until they're well into adulthood or even old age. 

Signs of FIP can include abdominal swelling, weight loss, an unkempt coat and mental dullness. Once a cat gets sick, there's not much to do but provide palliative care. 

The Cure For FIP Is Still A Long Way Off

In the first phase of the clinical trials, Pedersen and his team looked at optimal doses and what forms of FIP and the length of illness were most responsive to treatment with GC376.

They learned that treatment requires at least 12 weeks and will cause a rapid reversal of FIP in some, but not all, cats.

One of the questions that remains to be answered is how long the remission will last.

But even after the researchers have finished gathering information, it could be a long time before GC376 is available to veterinarians.

First, Pedersen said in an interview with Catster, they'll need to find a pharmaceutical company that's willing to take GC376 through the long and expensive Federal Drug Administration testing and approval process.

Since "a company may not find it economically viable to spend the money necessary to gain FDA approval for a disease for a single animal species such as FIP," he added, "I would not want to speculate on if and when this particular drug may become commercially available for use by veterinarians."

Help For Cats With FIP Now

While GC376 may still be a long way from your vet's office, there are things to do for cats with FIP now.

Prednisone, interferons and some supplements and antioxidants can extend the length of life and improve the quality of life for cats with FIP.

To learn about treatments, take a look at leading FIP researcher Diane Addie's handout for veterinarians. And join the Support and Info for Owners of FIP cats email list on Yahoo Groups or the group's FIP Fighters Facebook page. You'll find all the information and support you need if you're caring for an FIP cat. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Home Testing Products Help Monitor Your Cat's Health

Special cat litter formulas can help you monitor your cat's health.
The litter box has always provided a fairly accurate, albeit yucky, picture of a cat's health. But new cat litter products can show you even more warning signs when something's amiss.

Check your pet supply store for products that can alert you to possible urinary tract disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.

Among the home testing products especially for cats are Dr. Elsey's Health Monitor Everyday Litter, LifeMate clumping litter from Pestell Pet Products and Monthly Monitor from Ultra Pet Co.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cats And Cancer - A Different Kind Of Treatment

Metronomic Chemotherapy is a different approach to treating cancer in cats.
© Rita Kochmarjova -
Think about the sound of a metronome. It's always steady and often slow. And now its name is inspiring a different way of treating cancer in cats.

Conventional treatment using chemotherapy for cancer in cats calls for giving the drug at the maximally tolerated dose. But patients need a rest period between treatments to allow healthy cells to repair and regenerate and to minimize side effects.

Cancer cells never rest, though. And during the break in treatment, damaged tumor blood vessels can recover along with healthy cells, lessening the benefit of the treatment.

Enter Metronomic Chemotherapy

Like the metronome it's named for, metronomic chemotherapy takes a steady approach to giving smaller doses of oral chemo drugs at regular intervals at home. For several years, veterinary oncologists have been using the technique to treat cats with lymphoma. But now they're finding that other kinds of cancer respond to this approach, too.

Veterinary oncologist Susan Ettinger uses it when the cancer has metastasized in an attempt to slow progression of the disease. She also uses it for cats whose cancer reoccurs or progresses on the recommended drugs. And she's found it helps to delay the recurrence of incompletely removed soft tissue sarcoma.

"Traditionally, a second surgery or radiation is recommended to prevent tumor regrowth," she says, "but this gives us another option."

Speaking at a 2008 continuing education conference for vets, veterinary oncologist Alice Villalobos called metronomic chemotherapy a "kinder, gentler way to help fragile and geriatric cancer patients."

But to me, it sounds like a kinder, gentler way to help all cats. If you have a cancer cat -- and I hope you never do -- it would certainly be worth discussing with your vet.

Cancer in Cats Book
Today's Recommendation
have a cat with cancer.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Daily Cat Quote

“I thought maybe she'd whisk us off by magic, or at least hail a taxi. Instead, Bast borrowed a silver Lexus convertible.
"Oh, yes," she purred. "I like this one! Come along, children."
"But this isn't yours," I pointed out.
"My dear, I'm a cat. Everything I see is mine." She touched the ignition and the keyhole sparked. The engine began to purr. [No, Sadie. Not like a cat, like an engine.]” 
― Rick RiordanThe Red Pyramid

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cat Food - Cats Choose Good Nutrition Over Taste

Whether their food is served in a crystal bowl or on a paper plate, cats choose food they know is good for them.
© Olga Sapegina |
You might have a hard time getting your kids to eat their veggies. But given a choice between junk food and something that's good for them, cats will choose the food with the correct amount of nutrients, no matter how the food tastes.

That's the conclusion of a study done by scientists at the WALTHAM Centre of Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare and the University of Sydney. The study was published in June in Royal Society Open Science.

Scientists have known for some time that insects, birds, fish and other mammals are able to balance and regulate the intake of many nutrients, including protein, fat and carbs, by adjusting their intake of foods available to them, the study says.

But what about cats? Experts have long thought they choose their food based on smell, texture and taste. But that theory could be headed for the trashcan, along with all the food our cats completely ignore or flatly refuse to eat.

The cats in the study ate food made into a porridge-like consistency. It tasted and smelled like either fish, chicken, rabbit or orange.

For the first few days, the cats did base their decisions on taste and smell. Most of them went for the fish. But then, nutritional needs took over, and they chose the food that had the exactly correct protein/fat ratio, even if it tasted like orange.

That's something to think about when your vet recommends a low-protein "kidney diet," which your cat won't touch, or you put your cat on low-fat "diet food" to slim him down a bit.

Just so you know, cats convert fat to energy. It's the carbs in dry food that really pack on the pounds.

The study could have implications for the pet food industry as it develops new products. But in the meantime, you can do your part by paying attention to the percent of protein and fat in your cat's wet food.. Look for wet food that's about 40 percent protein from animal sources (not rice, pasta or vegetables) and less than 50 percent fat.

Of course, there's still no guarantee your cats will approve of the first cans of food you open, even if they do the contain the perfect protein/fat ratio. At the moment, I'm looking a several bowls of perfectly balanced wet food that hasn't been touched.

Cats love Tiki Cat Salmon and it has the correct protein/fat ratio.
Today's recommendation
Cats love Tiki Cat Salmon, and
it has the correct ratio of protein to fat.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pet Insurance Goes To Work

Does this kitten have pet insurance? She just might since a growing number of companies are offering pet insurance as a voluntary benefit.
Is the cost of kitty's health care making you feel a bit sick? If you're lucky, your employer is one of a growing number of companies that offers pet insurance as a voluntary benefit.

According to Nationwide Insurance, the owner of VPI Pet Insurance, health care coverage for companion animals is one of the fastest-growing voluntary benefits in the U.S. More than 5,000 companies and organizations now offer Nationwide, and other pet insurance companies have corporate clients, too.

Pet Insurance Posts Record Growth

If you're looking for a growth industry, check out pet insurance. 

In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, the number of gross written premiums increased 12.8 percent on 10.6 percent additional animals. That makes it one of the fastest growing categories in the insurance industry.

In all, 1.4 million companion animals had insurance, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association says. Their humans paid $660.5 million in premiums. 

Pet Insurance At The Office

Many companies now offer pet insurance as a benefit to cover kittens like this one.
While some companies pay 100 percent of their employees' pet insurance premiums, most offer it as a voluntary benefit. That means employees' animal companions are covered at discounted group rates, with the company taking care of administrative costs.

Among the companies that offer pet insurance as a benefit are Deloitte LLP, Edelman, Caterpillar Inc., Walgreen Co, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hewlett-Packard, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Xerox, Adidas and Yahoo!.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Daily Cat Quote

“Never try to outstubborn a cat.” 
― Robert A. HeinleinTime Enough for Love

Friday, May 13, 2016

What Are The Top Ten Cat Health Issues?

Prevent the top ten cat health issues with regular vet visits.
What were the top ten cat health issues in 2015? Nationwide, formerly VPI Pet Insurance, went through its records and came up with this list:

1. Bladder or urinary tract disease
2. Periodontal or dental disease
3. Chronic kidney disease
4. Vomiting or upset stomach
5. Hyperthyroidism
6. Diarrhea/intestinal upset
7. Diabetes
8. Upper respiratory infection
9. Skin Allergies
10. Inflammatory bowel disease
Last year, Nationwide members spent more than $77 million to treat the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their animal companions. Among cats, the most common claim was for bladder or urinary tract diseases. The insurance company received more than 4,700 claims at an average cost of $441 per cat.

An Ounce Of Prevention

Brushing you cat's teeth is a good way to prevent dental disease, one of the top ten health issues in cats.
No one knows for sure what causes hyperthyroidism in cats. But you have a good chance of preventing the other top 10 cat health issues by paying close attention to your cat's lifestyle and diet.

Stress and dry food are the most common triggers for urinary tract diseases. Dry food can also cause dental disease, diabetes and irritable bowel disease. 

Some common causes of asthma in cats are pollen, mold and other allergens; dusty cat litter; cigarette smoke; perfume; scented litter and other household products, including air and carpet fresheners.

Some Healthy Tips

Some outdoor time is a great stress reliever and will help you avoid the top ten health issues in cats.
Aine in her harness and leash
Keeping you cat healthy isn't as difficult as it may sound. All it takes is some thought, careful shopping and a bit of planning. Here are some tips.

  • Get rid of the dry food or use as little of it as possible. Stella and Chewy's freeze-dried chicken chunks are a great dry food alternative.
  • In multi-cat households, provide high places for perching and low places for hiding so each cat can have some personal space.
  • Also in multi-cat households, scatter food, water and litter boxes around your home so the cats can get to the things they need without having to deal with the others.
  • Get your cat outside, even if it's just on a harness and leash. Being outdoors is a great stress reliever.
  • Learn to brush your cats' teeth, or give them chunks of raw meat. The abrasive action of chewing the meat will help clean their teeth.
  • After kitten shots, don't vaccinate or do minimal vaccinations. Your cats will be healthier if their immune systems have something to do. 
  • Use unscented litter. Your cats will like it better, and they won't have to breathe lung-irritating fumes.
  • Choose cleaning products carefully. Many contain essential oils that are harmful to cats. Also resist the urge to use air and carpet fresheners and scented candles. While they smell good to you, they can be literally sickening to your cats.
At my house, we have just one cat on the top ten list. Myles is diabetic, although I have no idea why. He never ate dry food; he was never overweight and he never came within miles of any kind of steroid. No matter how hard we try, maybe we can't keep our cats in perfect health forever. But we can at least help them avoid the top ten health issues in cats. That's fairly easy to do if we just pay attention to their lifestyles and diets. 

Nature of Animal Healing Book
Todays Recommendation
This is my all-time favorite
cat health care book.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Video Shows How Cats Always Land On Their Feet

African caracal shows how cats always land on their feet
If you haven't already seen your quota of online cat videos for today, here's one that's really worth watching. And it answers an age-old question: Why do cats always land on their feet?

Filmmakers for the BBC's new show, Life In The Air, photographed an African caracal falling headfirst from a tree limb and landing on all four paws on the ground several feet below. This might be the most beautiful cat video you've ever seen online, and it's certainly one of the most interesting.

So How Do Cats Land On Their Feet?

Cats come with invisible landing gear already installed. A vestibular apparatus in their inner ear acts as a compass, so they always know right side up.

It's this "aerial righting reflex" that helps them reflexively correct their course when they fall so their feet are in position to touch down on the ground first.

The righting reflex begins to appear at three-four weeks of age. By six weeks, it's fully developed and ready to kick in and parachute Kitty to a soft landing if she tumbles off a table or misses her mark trying to go over a fence.

It works because cats have unusually flexible backbones and no functional collarbones. You can see it in action in the BBC's slow motion video of the caracal falling from the tree limb headfirst. He quickly begins to arch his back, twisting and bending near the head and tail. His flexible spine lets him rotate his front and back ends in different directions at the same time.

Since the front of his body rotates clockwise while falling backward and his back is turning in the opposite direction, he's able to push against himself and bring his legs close to his chest. That makes the front of his body spin faster, causing his spine to twist. As his spine twists, he swings his front legs around to prepare for landing. Gracefully. On all four feet.

Watching him fall is amazing, and I have to admit that I watched the video several times.

But They Can't Always Twist And Turn

A 1987 study by veterinarians at the Animal Medical Center in New York showed that 90 percent of cats who fell from tall buildings survived, although many had serious injuries. The ones who were most likely to have serious injuries or not survive were the cats who fell from heights of just one-six stories.

Why are cats who fall from greater distances more likely to have less serious injuries? One theory is that their aerial righting reflex has more time to kick in, providing a softer landing. Another is that after they reach a maximum downward speed, they relax and spread themselves out, much like flying squirrels.

And cats aren't the only ones who can do this. Primates, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats and some lizards have a similar aerial righting reflex.

Don't Try This At Home

I'm glad I now understand how my cats' invisible landing gear works, but I hope they'll never use it. If they jumped or fell off our third floor balcony, they'd probably make a soft landing on the grass and stroll off into the woods. But even cat landing gear can malfunction, so I'm going to request that they continue using the stairs when they want to go out. Granted, it takes longer. But it's a lot safer, and we won't have to worry about broken bones.

Every cat should wear a collar.
Today's Recommendation
A collar is essential
for your cat's safety.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Can Cats Cause Road Rage?

Could this long-haired cat cause road rage?
And now, from the What Will They Blame On Cats Next department, comes this news: Cats can cause road rage.

I can think of a couple of reasons why cats would infuriate their people. Not using the litter box comes to mind. But the scientists who came up with the road rage theory would say it's using the litter box, not failing to use it, that could cause sudden angry outbursts.

Blame It On Toxoplasmosis

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Chicago looked at 358 people and found that those who had been exposed to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii showed impulsive anger twice as much as those who hadn't been exposed.

The researchers, led by University of Chicago professor Emil F. Coccaro, MD, were hoping to pioneer in the diagnosis and management of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which can show itself as road rage and is believed to affect about 16 million people in the United States.

"Our work suggests that latent infection with the toxoplasma gondii parasite may change brain chemistry in a fashion that increases the risk of aggressive behavior," Coccaro said in a statement about the study. "However, we do not know if this relationship is causal, and not everyone that tests positive for toxoplasmosis will have aggression issues."

But Don't Blame The Cat

The most common causes of toxoplasmosis in people are handling raw meat or eating undercooked meat, especially venison, lamb and pork. Drinking contaminated water can also cause toxoplasmosis, and so can just digging in the soil of a flowerbed. 

Cats can ingest the toxoplasma gondii parasite by eating infected rodents. They then shed the oocysts (eggs) in their feces. An infected cat will shed the eggs for just two weeks or less. And according to the International Cat Care website, it's rare for cats to shed more oocysts after their first infection.

But it's also "rare to find cats shedding oocysts in their feces" at all, the website continues. "For example one study of more than 206 cats showed nearly 25 percent had been infected with T gondii, but none of them were shedding oocysts in their feces."

Prevention Is Just A Scoop Away

You scoop your cat's box every day, don't you? If you do, that makes your chances of getting toxoplasmosis from your cat slim to none. That's because it takes 24 hours for the oocysts to become infectious.  If you're really concerned, wear gloves when you scoop. 

And if you're prone to road rage, don't blame your cat. More likely, it's that long commute and rude drivers that are infuriating you, with good reason. 

Speak Out For Cats

Coccaro's study got lots on attention online. And all the headlines just had to say something about cats causing road rage. Since I live with cats, drive a lot and have had a few moments of road rage myself, they certainly got my attention.

But reporting like this is damaging to cats. It just fuels the myths that make people dislike and mistrust them. So I commented on every article, and I hope you'll do the same if you come across one. We need to speak out on behalf of our feline friends and family members if we're going to keep cat ladies from going to the dogs.

Vapor Vault Cat Litter Disposal
Today's Recommendation
The Vapor Vault is a good way to store
used litter until you're ready to put
it in the trash.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Can Cats Meow With A New York Accent Or Southern Drawl?

Cat Meowing
Andrey Kuzmin -
Does your cat from North Carolina meow with a southern drawl? Or, if you're in northern New Jersey, does she sound like an in-your-face Jersey girl when she talks to you? That regional accent might be more than a figment of your imagination. A team of Swedish scientists is trying to find out whether cats have different "dialects" based on their location.

Susanne Schötz, an associate professor of phonetics at Lund University, thinks cats who live in different areas have slightly different accents. To confirm that she's not just hearing things, she and two other researchers will be listening to cats in Stockholm and Lund, two areas with different dialects, and using phonetic analysis to determine whether their meows really do sound different.

The researchers plan to study 30-50 cats and their people over the next five years. They'll listen to intonation, voice and speaking style in human speech addressed to cats and cat vocalizations addressed to humans.

Hey, Human! Are You Listening?

When adult cats talk with each other, their preferred method of communication is body language. The position of their ears and tails and the look in their eyes are worth a thousand meows. They meow when they talk to us because they realize we're not fluent in catspeak.

But when they meow to us, do we really know what they're saying?

Schötz also plans to record the vocalizations of cats in different situations to find out.

"We know cats vary the melody of their sounds extensively, but we don't know how to interpret this variation," she says. She hopes to discover how cats sound when they want to go out, are feeling friendly and greeting people, and when they're hungry, annoyed or angry.

She also wants to learn how they react to different human voices, speaking styles and intonation patterns. For instance, she wants to know if cats like hearing high-pitched "pet-directed" speech or if they would rather be spoken to as human adults.

"We still have much to learn about how cats perceive human speech,” Schötz says.

Meowsic To Our Ears
Schötz is calling her study Meowsic (Melody in Human-Cat Communication), and she believes it could have a "profound impact" on how humans communicate with cats at home and at vet clinics and shelters.

Five years is a long time to wait, but it will be fun to see how the study turns out. In the meantime, I'll continue talking to my cats the way I talk to people, since they're used to that. And I guess they'll continue taking to me the way they talk to other cats, with body language and looks in their eyes. If they flatten their ears, I'll know I'm in deep trouble!

Body Language and Emotions of Cats book
Today's Recommendation
This is my all-time favorite
cat behavior book.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Finally -- The Truth About FIV

white outside cat with gray patches
© TMakotra -
Finally. It's official. Cats who have FIV can live with cats who don't and won't transmit the disease.

Veterinarian Annette L. Litster of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, studied more than 100 cats who were in rescue group shelters. The cats were not in cages but lived together in a group home setting. Her research was published in a recent issue of Veterinary Journal.

Litster initially tested 138 cohabiting cats with Rescue Group One. At the time, eight of the cats tested positive for FIV. The others were all negative. When she did a  second test 28 months later, the 45 negative cats who were still there were still negative. She got the same results 38 months after the first tests. By then, all but four of the negative cats and seven of the eight positive cats had been adopted.

"These results show a lack of evidence of FIV transmission, despite years of exposure to naturally-infected, FIV-positive cats in a mixed household," she wrote.

Now if veterinarians will just read the study and believe it.

FIV Should Not Be A Death Sentence 

Every year, thousands of cats die in "shelters" because they test positive for FIV. Thousands more are forced to live strictly indoors, separated from the other cats in their household because of a positive test result.

But the tests done in vets' offices often return false positives. And FIV is pretty much a non-issue anyway. It's transmitted from cat to cat only by repeated deep bite wounds. So a positive cat who doesn't fight can share food and water bowls and litter boxes with a negative cat and groom him and cuddle with him and never make his buddy sick.

The study confirms what many of us have known all along. What some of us didn't know, though, was that mother cats don't pass FIV on to their kittens. Litster also tested five positive mother cats at a second rescue. None of their 19 kittens tested positive for FIV.

FIV Is Not Feline AIDS 

Gray Cat Sleeping Outside
My FIV cat, Hoss
One of the cruelest myths about FIV is that it's Feline AIDS. Like human HIV, it's a lentivirus, but that's about where the similarity ends. It progresses very slowly. And while your FIV cat may someday develop AIDS symptoms, he's likely to die of old age long before those symptoms even begin to occur.

In the meantime, living with an FIV cat is pretty much like living with any other cat. Mine lived into his 20s! He was my close friend and spirit guide, and I still miss him. 

Liquid Immuno
Today's Recommendation
Liquid Immuno is a great
supplement for FIV cats.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Amtrak Gives Cats A Ticket To Ride

Cat in Suitcase
© Okssi -
Maybe you're not wild about our elected officials in Washington, but here's a reason to send a little love their way. A provision buried deep into the 1300-page five-year highway appropriations bill approved last year instructs Amtrak to allow cats and dogs on many of its trains.

Amtrak started giving animal companions a ticket to ride on some routes in the northeast and Midwest last October. The pilot program ended earlier this month, and Amtrak is now on the fast track to expand its Pets on Trains policy. Cats and dogs under 20 pounds are now allowed on the Springfield Shuttles, Northeast, Downeaster,  Virginia, and Illinois regional routes and all cross country routes except the Auto Train. Animals can also travel on the Acela Express, but only on Saturdays and Sundays.

To travel with your cat, all you have to do is get on board with Amtrak's rules. Among them: The cat must be in an approved carrier that will fit under your seat, and your trip must be no more than seven hours long. Oh, and just one cat is allowed per passenger.

It was Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who asked Amtrak to get the Pets on Trains policy rolling after he discovered his French Bulldog couldn't travel with him when he took the train. His Pets on Trains Act is part of the larger Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act. The act allows Amtrak to have at least one pet friendly car on each train.

To travel with your cat, you need to make your reservations with at an Amtrak ticket agent or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.  But your cat won't be getting a free ride. Tickets for animals cost $25.

Top Loading Cat Carrier
Today's Recommendation
A light, sturdy top-loading
carrier for traveling with your cat.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Does Fish Cause Hyperthyroidism In Cats?

Kitten Eating Fish
© Photowitch |
Over the years, researchers have theorized about lots of possible causes of hyperthyroidism in cats.

Remember the cat food can scare? Scientists thought the BPA in the lining of cans could make cats hyperthyroid.

And then there was the idea that the PCBs and PBDEs in flame retardant upholstery fabric were the culprits.

But now there's a new suspect: fish-flavored cat food.

PCBs and PBDEs can occur naturally in fish, leading a team of Japanese researchers to wonder whether cats are exposed to these harmful compounds from their food.

Led by Mizukawa Hazuki, assistant professor at the Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, the team measured the residue levels of the compounds and their byproducts in commercial cat foods. Then they tested blood samples from cats and simulated how a cat’s body would process PCB- and PBDE-related compounds.

The blood samples contained high levels of both compounds, leading the researchers to believe they came from the cats' fishy food, not their environment.

But wait. Don't toss out all those cans of fish-flavored cat food just yet. The researchers say more work is needed to determine whether these compounds actually contribute to feline hyperthyroidism.

If you want to look it up, the study was published Dec. 2 in the American Chemistry Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal.

Soulistic Chicken Cat Food
Today's Recommendation
Cats love this food,
and it doesn't contain fish.

Mizukawa Hazuki, assistant professor at the Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at:
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