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How Many Times Could a Cat Become Pregnant in a Year?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

photo of cat nursing kittensA reader asked: "I have a question on cat pregnancy. I was wondering if I don't neuter my female and have another cat of the opposite gender in the house how many times could my cat get pregnant over the course of a year?" In my reply, I took the "prediction" a bit further." This is likely worst-case scenario, as it is impossible to predict values such as how many kittens will be female in each litter or how many kittens don't survive. But the salient point is, "What will happen to all those excess kittens?"
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Trista Weibell

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Cat Picture of the Week: Fergie

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Fergie, this week's Cat Picture of the Week, does not really look or act the part of a special needs cat.

Cat Picture of the Week: Fergie
photo © About.com Member Nan Lechner

Fergie had apparently been lost or abandoned, then met with a terrible accident while seeking warmth under the hood of a truck, which resulted in the loss of one of her back legs. Nan wasn't really looking to adopt a cat when she wandered into a pet store's adoption day events and first met Fergie. But something made her keep going back, until during one visit the two of them decided they wanted to be a family. And a family they are. Although Nan has installed special stairs to help her climb up to the bed, Fergie handles them like a "normal" cat, and loves to dash up and jump down from the bed. Nan's advice of LOVE, LOVE, and more LOVE is fitting for every relationship of humans and cats. I recommend it highly.

Giardia Hits Close to Home

Monday April 21, 2014

Since two or three of my cats have had loose stools in the past few months, I've been concerned about Giardia.

Photo of Kitten Gaither in His Box
photo © Franny Syufy

I've had Gaither's stools tested for Giardia, but the tests have come back negative. Last week, however, he was having particularly runny stools so I took another sample in for testing. Sure enough, it came back positive. Meanwhile, my big boy Jaspurr, who has lately been pooping outside the litter box (although he is good about using it for urinating), left a small amount of loose poop on the mat outside the box, and it had dried during the night and had a pale grayish-white surface. I looked that up and found it is a symptom of Giardia, so I'll send one of his samples in tomorrow. From everything I've read about Giardia, it can be in the system for quite sometime before it is evidenced. It is also highly contagious, and humans can get it too. You may recognize it by its common name of "travelers' diarrhea." Giardia is a single-cell parasite; it is not a worm, germ, or virus, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals' excellent article. Learn more about Giardia and how it can affect your cats.

Review: Bite Me - A Memoir (Of Sorts)

Thursday April 17, 2014

Max Thompson is one of the most popular cats on the Internet. I have even had his blog on my blogroll for several years. Therefore, it is surprising that I found his latest book, Bite Me - a Memoir (of Sorts) strictly by accident. But who could ignore a book called "Bite Me" for long? Especially a book written by a cat.

Photo of Book Cover Bite Me, a Memoir
photo courtesy of PriceGrabber

It is difficult to write an objective review about a book such as Bite Me. The reader is thrust into the lives of real people and animals, and despite Max's often flippant observations, you can feel the real emotions behind them. I felt a particular affinity toward Max's human Mom, K.A. Thompson. As an "Army brat," I had been moved all over the U.S., and often felt the angst of leaving behind newfound friends, even pets. I guarantee one thing: when you read Bite Me, you'll experience some intensely emotional moments, along with loads of chuckles and LOL memories.

April is Heartworm Awareness Month

Thursday April 17, 2014

While heartworm disease in dogs has been around for over 100 years, it was first recognized in cats in 1921. In the United states, its prevalence is concentrated mostly in the southeastern coastal states, although it can be found in every state. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be found in many species of mammals, including humans, and is a potentially fatal disease.

Like some other people, I was not particularly worried about heartworm disease in my cats, thinking that it was much more prevalent in dogs. However, cats can indeed get heartworm from mosquito bites. Although the percentages are not available, the American Heartworm Society states that the incidences of heartworms in cats have increased over the years. Heartworm disease in both dogs and cats can be prevented. Coincidentally, yesterday, I picked up a one-month supply of Revolution (selamectin) for our six cats. Although our cats don't have fleas, several of them have ear mites, which are also targeted by Revolution. One of the most disturbing facts that I learned from the American Heartworm Society, is that heartworm is often diagnosed as asthma in cats. My Joey was diagnosed with asthma over three years ago, when we lived in an area with mosquito problems. Even more disturbing is the fact that although there are treatments for heartworm in dogs, there are no such treatments yet for cats. Learn much more about this serious disease from the American Heartworm Society.

Get Rid of Cat Fleas

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Have your cats become the local fast food hangout for families of fleas? Fleas are not only annoying, but they are nasty little critters that carry any number of "hitch-hikers" such as tapeworms and the Haemobartonellosis microorganism. I'm sure you'll agree with the importance of stopping flea infestations before they occur, for your cats' comfort and your own peace of mind.

With warmer weather, our cats are scratching more lately. But worse, a couple of them have ear mites, which are really bothering them. Although I can't find any evidence of fleas on them, it's past due time to treat them with the Frontline we have on hand.
Image © iStock Photo.

I do not personally recommend any flea powders nor flea collars for cats, and definitely not for young kittens. Nor should any flea control product labeled for dogs ever be used on cats of any age. In 2001, hundreds of cat owners lost their cats after using certain flea products containing either permethrin or methoprene. After hearing hundreds of specific consumer complaints, the EPA investigated the Hartz Mountain Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of pet products, including flea control products. Those unnecessary deaths underscored the necessity of reading and understanding labels, not only on food products, but also on flea and tick control products.

Cat Picture of the Week: Gimpy

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Gimpy is my choice for the second Cat Picture of the Week for April, 2014. After you've read his story, I'm sure you'll agree with my selection.

Cat Picture of the Week: Gimpy
photo © About.com Member archeologist

It's hard to imagine an inhumane monster who would dump a litter of helpless three week old kittens into a dumpster. But this particular litter was blessed by being rescued by a group of angels in the form of Feral Fanciers, then fostered by another angel called archeologist. Eventually the kittens were old enough to be offered for adoption, however, archeologist decided to keep Gimpy as her own. Gimpy will always need specialized veterinary care as well as constant help at home because of his rare type of rickets, along with megacolon. But he's in the very best home possible for his needs, and even the other cats rally around him. Read more of Gimpy's story, and learn how to submit your own special needs cat story and photos.

Cat Breed of the Week: Himalayan

Tuesday April 15, 2014

If Persians are the number one cat in popularity, the Himalayan color division has to play a large part in that favor. The Himalayan is a result of breeding Persian to Siamese, to retain the Persian type while adding the unique "pointed" coloration of the Siamese. A remarkable success, one would gather, from the large number of Himalayan breeders.

photo of Himalayan catThis lovely Himalayan is Sushi.
Photo Credit: © Melissa Miranda

About the Breed | Share Your Himalayan

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Alley Cat Allies' Tips for Kitten Season

Monday April 14, 2014

We're all aware that it's kitten season, but be careful about "rescuing lost kittens" until you're sure the momcat is not coming back. According to Alley Cat Allies, the mom may be out looking for food, and if you get too close to the kitten, mom may delay coming back, and/or the kitten may run and hide.

Photo of feral cat and her kittensActually, it may be dangerous to remove neonatal kittens (four weeks or younger) from where you found them. Kittens this young need specialized care, so unless you are a fully trained feral cat rescuer, it's best to just observe kittens from a distance. According to Becky Robinson, Founder and President of Alley Cat Allies, ""Ultimately you have to use your best judgment. Determine if the kitten is young enough to be socialized and fostered or adopted, or if she is old enough to be trapped, neutered and returned. If the kitten is not weaned, she will require bottle-feeding and round-the-clock care. To determine the age of a kitten, use Alley Cat Allies' Kitten Progression Chart."
photo © Alley Cat Allies

There are a number of other things you can do to help the cause of our serious cat overpopulation problem. Check out Alley Cat Allies' tips for more information. Then if you haven't already, spay and neuter your own pet cats. Remember that responsible caregiving of cats begins at home.

Cat Breed of the Week: Havana Brown

Thursday April 10, 2014

The Havana Brown is unique to gaze upon, and even more delightful to enjoy as a companion. Browns are very people-oriented and will often extend a paw to gain attention. With its charming manner and soft, gentle voice, the Havana Brown would make an ideal pet for a single person.

Susitnaladys Trudy of Mokolea AKA Trudy was featured on the Cat Fanciers Association's website under the Havana Brown Breed Profile, as the CFA National Best of Breed for 2001-2002 show season.
Photo Credit: © Diane Mounib, Mokolea Cattery

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