Savvy Pet Care Update

This blog has been pretty quiet for a while and I have not been providing pet sitting services in Southern California since late 2013. For health reasons, I decided to “retire” at the end of 2014 and move from Southern California to Northern California. Although I had not been actively pet sitting, Kelly continued to care for pets in her area.

Kelly and I are now neighbors and serving clients in Pine Grove, Jackson, Sutter Creek, Martell, Volcano, Pioneer and Amador City. We are accepting new clients and looking forward to giving you peace of mind, where your pets and home are concerned, while you are away.

I’ll also be back to providing informative articles and reviews on the blog!

June is Adopt a Cat Month

If you are looking to add a kitty to your fur family, June is Adopt a Cat Month.

adopt a cat month

Jackson Galaxy on Spay/Neuter

JG on spay neuter

This is an excellent, short video by Jackson Galaxy on spaying and neutering your pets.

He answers all the basic questions:

  • Will my cat gain weight if spayed/neutered?
  • What are the health risks of NOT spaying/neutering?
  • Isn’t the surgery too invasive?
  • But I want my cat to have just one litter. Is that OK?
  • But I want my kids to see the miracle of birth. Is that OK?


A recap of the statistics:

* 6-8 million animals are booked into shelters yearly
* 70,000 cats and dogs are born daily 
* 3-4 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized yearly.
* In the US, 1 healthy adoptable cat and dog is euthanized every 11 seconds
— Source: The Humane Society of The United Statesspay and neuter

* 3-4 million animals are adopted yearly 
— Source:

* It costs over 1 billion dollars of taxpayers money to round up, house, euthanize and dispose of homeless animals yearly (MANY other sites state it is about 2 billion) 
— Source:

To find a low-cost program near you, search the ASPCA Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Provider Database by simply entering your zip code. They are constantly adding to the database so if you don’t find anything in your zip code now, check back. Many low cost clinics offer services for as little as $30-$50 for cats and $40-$75 for dogs.



Therapy Cats

I have followed Sparkle the Designer Cat for some time now and was so sad to hear that she was so very sick. I fear that as of this writing, she is no longer with us. She wrote a couple of posts in anticipation of this, including one introducing her “replacement” gift for her human, Summer.

love on a leash therapy catSparkle’s human had been looking for some time for a cat that could be a therapy cat. Now this intrigued me. Of course, I have heard of therapy dogs and I am involved in equine therapy. I have even thought about raising puppies for the blind but fear I would have such a hard time letting them go. But a therapy cat? Although it is no surprise to me that cats make wonderful therapy pets, I had never really thought about it. So, I did some research.

Research shows that felines can relieve stress and lower blood pressure, and studies have found that the hormone oxytocin is released when we’re around pets, triggering feelings of happiness.

What are the Requirements to become a Therapy Cat?

Right off the bat, I learned that my cats would not qualify as I feed them a raw diet. Somehow, the thing that is best for them is not good for the humans. A raw diet puts people — especially those with compromised immune systems — at a higher risk for infection. Hmm… I’m on chemotherapy. Should I not be making raw food for my cats? I know I am not supposed to be eating anything raw myself. A definite question for my oncology team!

Other than the diet requirement and a few age and time requirements, it all seems to boil down to the cat’s temperament. The cat needs to be laid back and friendly, non-aggressive, and comfortable with loud noises and unpredictable situations. The cat must walk on a leash. 

A variety of organizations give training and certify pet therapy teams both in person and online. Pet Partners and Love On A Leash are two of the largest, but some areas also have local organizations. 

So what do you think? Do you know a therapy cat? Do you have a cat that you think would do an awesome job? Tell us in the comments.

More info on therapy cats and getting therapy cats certified:

Cats As Therapy Animals? Here’s How To Get Your Feline Certified
How to Get Your Cat Certified as a Therapy Cat
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program • Frequently Asked Questions

Raw Diet for Cats: How a raw diet can affect behavior

I haven’t been able to make raw food for several months and I have been paying the price. All kitties in the household acted like they were starving to death at meal times, no matter how much I fed them. Two, including Christy, got raging diarrhea (again!). The diarrhea continued for both, even on grain-free food.

Finally, a couple of days ago, I made a batch. Everyone but Echo was quite excited by the idea. I had a very difficult time transitioning Echo to raw food in the beginning and it looks like Mr. Picky is going to try me again. All the other kitties, however, snarfed it down without hesitation. I could see them thinking, “It’s about time!”

Feeding a Raw Diet can affect Behavior

The most interesting thing to me is the change in their behavior. As I mentioned,Patiently waiting - how a raw diet can affect behavior they were acting like they were starving to death. They would mill around while I was getting their food ready, meowing and fussing with one another. My most Siamesey mix was driving me crazy with her yowling. Even before meal time, she would go to the area where she is fed and start up. Oh my gosh, please shut up! After only two days back on raw food, they patiently wait while I get their food ready then they race to their designated area to eat. No more meowing, yowling or fussing.

I had one cat that had taken to living in a bedroom upstairs, except at meal time, because she would get chased as soon as meal time was over. No more. She is now back down stairs and content. No one seems to feel the need to chase her.

I am actually feeding them less raw food than they were getting of commercially canned food. They get about two ounces twice a day of raw versus the three ounces twice a day of commercial. Their appetites are more easily satisfied with higher quality protein with no grain or vegetables as filler. 

Benefits of a raw diet

  • Improved digestion
  • Greatly reduced stool odor and volume
  • Healthy coat, less shedding, fewer hairballs
  • Increased energy
  • Weight loss is easily achieved if overweight
  • Better dental health
  • Better urinary health

A raw diet has so many benefits but this change in behavior is one of the most welcome. Oh, and the diarrhea has already cleared up.

Wordless Wednesday: Think Adoption First!

Think Adoption First!

Buyer Beware

About three years ago, MeoowzResQ was turned onto a discount pet medication website by another rescue. I do some of the buying for MeoowzResQ so I was asked to research this potential opportunity. Vaccination Services (their website is has a membership program and once you pay a reasonable fee, you receive a 20% additional discount on the already discounted products they sell. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, as they say, let the buyer beware.

When I first contacted this company, our main interest was for Advantage II. Their representative explained to me that Advantage and Advantage II are the same–they just updated their packaging. Trusting that the “expert” new what he was talking about, I let him sell me Advantage.

Over the next two years, we kept getting complaints from fosters that they buyer beware - all flea treatments are not the samecouldn’t get rid of fleas. I kept telling them that if they were using the Advantage as directed and vacuuming regularly, this should not be happening.

When we kept getting complaints, I started doing some research. I discovered that Advantage and Advantage II are NOT the same. Advantage II contains a growth regulator that plain Advantage does not have. This keeps hatching eggs from growing into adult fleas thus breaking the life cycle.

So, several months ago, when I placed our order, I very specifically ordered Advantage II and said, “Do not send us regular Advantage,” and have reminded them of that with every order. I had had a flea infestation and certainly did not want to have another!

Well, about three months ago, I started seeing the telltale signs. My cats were scratching. They started running across the carpet and eventually refused to be on the carpet. They would move across rooms on the furniture. They preferred to lay on the kitchen floor or other hard surfaces like the kitchen counters. Ugh!

I had been using the regular Advantage that we had been getting in the past so I went to the rescue to get some of the new Advantage II they had been getting. When I was handed a tube, it said “Advantage” on it, not Advantage II. The only ingredient listed was the pesticide. I figured this must have been an old tube but was suspicious. It was time to reorder so I asked them to keep all the packaging when the new order arrived. 

When the order arrived, I was shocked! Twelve tubes of Advantage were packaged in an Advantage II box for six tubes with a sticker placed on it that said 12 tubes. The tubes said Advantage, with the single ingredient, while the box said Advantage II with the two ingredients. 

Of course, I called the company. The gentleman again began to try to tell me they are the same. When I confronted him on the ingredients, he said, “Return it to me and I’ll give you a full refund.” When I wanted it replaced with Advantage II, he finally admitted that they don’t actually have Advantage II, only what they shipped.

So, I have been fighting another flea infestation! At least this one is fairly mild compared to the last one as I recognized the signs early. I still have not actually seen any fleas in the carpet, etc., only on the cats. During my last infestation, they were jumping all over the place, including on me!

Needless to say, we have found another, reliable source for our Advantage II. Here is an article about some other online scams to avoid: 

Seven Dog Scams to Avoid Online

Save Money Treating Fleas with Revolution

save money treating fleas with RevolutionIn our last post I told you how to save money on flea treatment by splitting large tubes of Advantage, made by Bayer, and Frontline, made by Merial. You can do the same thing and save money treating fleas with Revolution but there are a couple of differences. 

Advantage and Frontline are regulated by the EPA and are now available over the counter. Revolution, made by Zoetis, still requires a prescription and is regulated by the FDA rather than the EPA.

Although it is a little more expensive than Advantage and Frontline, Revolution helps protect your pet against a wider variety of parasites. The active ingredient in Revolution is selamectin. It works by penetrating the skin and entering your pet’s bloodstream. Concentrations of selamectin in the tissue and bloodstream prevent heartworm disease. Selamectin also redistributes into the skin from the bloodstream and kills adult fleas, American dog ticks, and ear mites, and prevents flea eggs from hatching. It is also an anthelmintic, which means it fights to expel parasitic worms. Parasites ingest the drug when they feed on the animal’s blood. Revolution is safe for pregnant and lactating pets. Revolution doesn’t have a growth regulator in it but the active ingredient in it does prevent flea eggs from hatching.

The thing I really like about Revolution is that it is quick-drying and non-greasy. If you are splitting tubes, it is imperative that you leave it in the tube it comes in and draw it from the tube with a needle as described in our previous post. The ingredient that makes it quick-drying also makes it very volatile. Once out of the tube and in a larger container, it can totally evaporate! Make sure the tube is tightly capped. I have read that it is advisable to store it in the refrigerator once opened.

The largest packet of Revolution is PLUM colored (for Extra Large Dogs) and is labeled for dogs 85.1 – 130 lbs. The volume of each dose of topical solution is 3 mL and the concentration of the drug is 120 mg/ml. THUS, each dose of PLUM Revolution for Extra Large Dogs (360 mg) can treat 24 kittens or 8 cats!

Revolution dosage chart

Please note: Veterinarians and drug manufacturers warn against tube splitting and doing so may void their liability. Some dog-only products, such as Advantix, can kill a cat. Do your own research and if you decide to split tubes be sure to:

  • Handle safely – wash your hands thoroughly after use
  • Store properly – in a cool, dark place
  • Use the appropriate dose

Save Money on Flea Treatment

save money on flea treatmentDid you know you can save money on flea treatment for your cats and small dogs by purchasing the largest size package of Advantage II (Extra Large Dog – over 55 lbs.) or Frontline Plus (89-132 lbs.) for dogs and using a portion of a tube at a time? You can also use plain Advantage and Frontline the same way but these products do not contain the second ingredient that the II and Plus versions have which is a growth regulator and I cannot stress how important this is in avoiding a flea infestation.

The plain versions of these products kill adult fleas but do not stop the eggs that fall to the floor or furniture from hatching and becoming adult, biting fleas. Yes, once back on your pet the adults die, but that doesn’t stop the cycle and an adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day! That’s where the growth regulator comes in. It interferes with the normal growth cycle of the fleas and prevents them from becoming mature adults.

The drugs in Advantage II for Dogs and Advantage II for Cats are exactly the same drugs (Imidacloprid 9.1% and Pyriproxyfen 0.46%) at the exact same concentrations. 

Advantage II Application Guidelines:
Cats up to 9 pounds – 0.4ml

Cats 10+ pounds – 0.8ml
Dogs 11-20 pounds – 1.0ml
Dogs 21-55 pounds – 2.5ml
Dogs 55+ pounds – 4.0ml

Frontline Plus for cats contains 9.8% fipronil and 11.8% (S)-methoprene (and 78.4% inert ingredients). Frontline Plus for dogs contains 9.8% fipronil and 8.8% (S)-methoprene (and 81.4% inert ingredients). The amount of growth regulator in the dog version is LESS than in the cat version so certainly should be safe for your cat. Don’t use the cat version on your dog.

Frontline Application Guidelines:
Cats 0.5ml

Dogs 11-22 pounds – 0.67ml
Dogs 23-44 pounds – 1.34ml
Dogs 45-88 pounds – 2.68ml
Dogs 89-132 pounds – 4.0ml

Here’s How to Save Money on Flea TreatmentSave money on flea treatment

Using the dog versions of Advantage and Frontline on cats is nothing new. You will find uninformed people on the internet saying don’t do it, but shelters and rescues have been doing it for years. That doesn’t in and of itself make it right, but it is vet approved, including by my vet. 

I have found the easiest way to portion out the product if you are treating multiple animals is to empty a tube into a small (1/2 oz.) bottle with a dropper tip. You can cut off the tip to accommodate a syringe and draw up the proper amount. I prefer to draw it out this way rather than wasting what sticks to the outside of the syringe if you just stick it down into the bottle. You can then just squeeze out the syringe onto your pet. I highly recommend using a syringe for accurate measurement–this is not something you want to eyeball!

A second method, especially if you are treating only one or two pets, is to use a syringe with a needle and draw what you need directly from the tube. Remove the needle and apply to your pet.

Please note: The above information is for Advantage and Frontline only. Veterinarians and drug manufacturers warn against tube splitting and doing so may void their liability. Some dog-only products, such as Advantix, can kill a cat. Do your own research and if you decide to split tubes be sure to:

  • Handle safely – wash your hands thoroughly after use
  • Store properly – in a cool, dark place
  • Use the appropriate dose

Paper or Plastic?

Cats and Boxes

Cats are so fun to watch playing in boxes. Which do you think they prefer, paper or plastic?


cats and boxes

sunny box

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Cats love small spaces. Boxes are like little dens where they can curl up and feel safe from predators. They can also hide and stalk the world around them.

Check out Why Do Cats Love Boxes? for more insight and fun videos.

Wordless Wednesday: Triple Treat

Triple Threat copy


adopt a cat month

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