Archive for This and That

Tabby Cats to be Celebrated on National Tabby Day

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When I heard about the first ever National Tabby Day, I knew I had to participate. A few years ago, I wrote a post called The Glorious Tabby Cat. That post continues to be my most popular post of all time so I know there are lots of people out there who love tabby cats.

National Tabby Day celebrating tabby cats - April 30th is the first National Tabby Day, a day designated to celebrate tabby cats. It was motivated by a book release and adoption event in Manhattan.

As you probably know, tabby cats are not a breed. Tabby is a coat pattern and comes in several variations. Tabbies originated from the African wild cat which has similar markings that are excellent camouflage. You can read the above post to learn more about tabby patterns, personality and myths.

Famous tabbies include Morris the Cat, spokescat for 9Lives; Garfield; Lil Bub; and Thomas O’ Malley, the tabby in the Disney movie The Aristocats. Maybe Buffy the Cat will join this list!

April 30th this year has been designated to celebrate these much-loved cats. The event was motivated by the release of the book Making the Most of all Nine Lives: The Extraordinary Life of Buffy the Cat. Buffy, of course, is a tabby cat. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Bideawee, and Triumph Books will celebrate the day with a cat adoption event and book signing by author, Sandy Robins, at Bideawee Animal Shelter in Manhattan.

National-Tabby-Day celebrating tabby cats

Today is also National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day so it is a perfect day for the festivities. I hope they have a very successful event and lots of kitties find their forever homes.

Do you have a tabby cat? I have one tabby and two others with some tabby markings. Will you be celebrating National Tabby Day? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

#NationalTabbyDay

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Therapy Cats

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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

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The Glorious Tabby Cat

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That Fabulous Tabby Cat Personality

Some say that tabby cat personalities are distinct from other cats Tabby close-upin the sense that they are more like the personalities of dogs. Tabby cats love to play and explore. They’ll follow you around like a puppy and some will even teach their humans to play fetch. Tabby cats are also considered to be more intelligent than those of other types by many. If you do a simple search online, you’ll see that tabby cats are often rated as being of higher intelligence than other types by both breeders and cat enthusiasts. They are amusing, clever, warmly affectionate and make wonderful companions.

What is a Tabby?

African Wild Cat

Tabby cats are often mistakenly thought of as being a particular breed of cat, but it is the coat pattern that is known as “tabby.” Today’s house cats originated from the African wild cat which has similar markings to those we see on tabby cats, an effective form of camouflage. The tabby gene is more dominate than any other coat color gene. This is one of the reasons most second or third generation feral cats are tabbies. Natural selection made the tabby gene more dominant because the tabby coat is better camouflage than solid or bicolor coats, and thus an individual with a tabby coat would have better chances of survival because it could hunt and avoid predators more easily.

The gene for the tabby pattern can be found in all domestic cats. Stripes-on-black-tabbyLook at a “solid” black cat in the sun some day and see if you can find the hidden tabby markings. And have you ever seen a solid red or orange or cream cat without the familiar tabby markings? You won’t, because the gene that makes a cat red or cream also makes the tabby markings visible. The tabby pattern is so popular that it can be found in many pedigreed cats today, and is accepted in a number of breeds by the most popular registries.

orange-and-whiteThere are many variations of the tabby pattern and tabby cats can be found with stripes, spots, ticks and swirls, and in various colors – brown tabbies, silver tabbies, ginger or orange tabbies, gray or blue tabbies and red tabbies Although there are many variations of each, the tabby pattern falls into four basic classes. A fifth includes tabby as part of another basic color pattern, e.g. the “patched” tabby, which may be a calico or tortoiseshell cat with tabby patches (the latter is called a “torbie”).

Tabby Coat Patterns

Classic

Classic-tabbyIt is this pattern that appears most often on tabbies. The classic has large swirls or blotches that end in a circular pattern or “target” at the sides. Three broad lines run from the neck to the tail, and around the neck there are wide bands of color known as a necklace. Classic tabby cats’ tails have broad bands, as do their legs, and the belly will have a row of vest button blotches. On the shoulders are patterns that are very similar to butterfly wings.

Mackerel

Mackarel-tabbyMackerel tabby markings closely correspond to the patterns seen on African wild cats. Some people suggest that mackerel tabbies should have been called classic, because their coat pattern was the original, and more reminiscent of the domestic cats origins. Mackerel tabbies have narrow striped rings around their tail and legs, solid or broken stripes down their sides and one or more ‘necklaces’ on the front of their chests. Along the belly of the mackerel tabby you will find a double row of ‘vest buttons.’

Spotted

Spotted-tabbyThe dark blotches of the coat pattern of some tabbies are formed into oval or round spots. Sometimes the spots run in lines, this is often known as the interrupted mackerel pattern, however whether these spots developed from mackerel tabbies, or are a completely separate mutation remains unknown. Spotted tabbies usually show a faint trace of a necklace and have a line of spots, or sometimes blotches, running from the neck to the very tip of their tail. The Ocicat, Bengal and American Bobtail are good examples of the spotted tabby pattern.

Ticked

Ticked-tabbyCats with ticked coat markings do not display the usual stripes, blotches or swirls of the tabby pattern and do not at first glance seem to be tabby cats at all. A closer look will show that the hairs are in fact striped with light and dark colored bands, these are known as agouti hairs, most tabbies will have some agouti hairs that make up part of their coat pattern. The faces of ticked (or agouti) tabbies will show the traditional ‘M’ marking, and ticked tabbies may show a faint necklace. The Abyssinian cat is a very good example of a ticked tabby and their coats often appear to shimmer in the sunlight due to the agouti hairs.

Patched

TorbieCats that have random patches of different colors are known as tortoiseshell (tortie), if the markings are tabby, the cats are called patched tabbies (torbie). Mackerel, spotted, ticked or classic markings can show in the patches, and the tabby pattern usually shows more distinctly on the head and legs. Brown patched tabbies have patches of deep brown tabby markings and patches of red (orange or ginger) tabby markings. Blue patched tabbies have patches of soft blue (gray) tabby markings and patches of cream tabby markings.

How did Tabby Cats get their ‘M’?

All tabbies have an “M” marking on their forehead, and on some this mark is very distinct. The ‘M’ is often referred to as “the mark of the true tabby.” There are several amusing legends about how tabby cats got their “M.”

Tabby-MThe most popular of these legends tells us that when the baby Jesus was lying in the manger he started to shiver with the cold. Mary covered the baby with blankets but still he kept shivering. Mary then asked all the animals to move closer to the manger so that their body heat would warm Jesus. The animals stood as close to the manger as they could but the baby Jesus remained cold and shivering. After a time a small cat with tabby markings jumped into the manger and snuggled next to Jesus. Before long the baby had stopped shivering and was sound asleep, contented and warm. In her gratitude to the tabby Mary made the mark of her own initial, upon the cat’s forehead so that tabby cats will forever remind the world of how they saved Jesus from the cold.

A legend from the Islamic world recounts that Mohammed had a tabby called Muezza who once saved his masters life by slaying a snake that had crawled up Mohammed’s sleeve. Later, when it was time to attend prayers the cat had fallen asleep upon the sleeve, so to avoid disturbing Muezza, Mohammed cut the sleeve from his garment. From that day on all tabbies were born with the ‘M’ marking on their forehead to remind all that see them that Mohammed loved cats, and that cats should always be respected.

Why are they called Tabby?

The name tabby is believed to have come from the word atabi a type of silk spun in the Attabiah region of Baghdad. This silk was exported in large quantities to the British Isles where it was noticed how similar the stripped pattern was to the coat of the tiger cat. These tiger cats soon started to be called tabbi cats and later tabby cats.


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Be Kind to Animals Week

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Be Kind to Animals Week, May 4-10, 2014

The American Humane Association created Be Kind to Animals Week in 1915 to encourage compassion toward animals. Every year, animal shelters throughout the country hold special events during this time-honored week to raise awareness about animals in our homes and communities and to celebrate the unique bond between humans and animals.

For those tempted to comment that this should be every day, of course, we agree. Commemorative days or weeks for an occasion are intended to bring special awareness and to celebrate, not to suggest that the activity should be done only on that day or during that week. And though you might be kind to animals, there are so many out there still suffering at the hands of people who are not. So, take a look at the other ways to celebrate below and see how you can help spread the word.

Be Kind to Animals Week

Other ways to celebrate from The American Humane Association

  • Report any suspected animal abuse or neglect to animal control
  • Commit to adopting your next pet from an animal shelter
  • Donate to or volunteer at your local animal shelter
  • Spay or neuter your pets and encourage friends and family to do the same
  • Spend quality time with your pet
  • Make sure your pet has an ID tag or microchip
  • Drive cautiously through areas populated by wild animals such as deer
  • Plant flowers in your yard that will attract butterflies or hummingbirds
  • Speak out in your community about the importance of respecting animals

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National Feral Cat Day 2013 — hauspanther

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National Feral Cat Day 2013

Today is National Feral Cat Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the community cats living throughout the country and how we can humanely care for them. “Community cat” is a term used to describe unowned cats, which includes stray, abandoned, and feral cats. Believe it or not, there are many people who consider stray or unowned cats to be essentially pests, not giving them a second thought or caring about their livelihood. Well, I disagree completely. I believe that there is no difference between the cat sleeping on your bed and the cat sleeping under a dumpster. They’ve just been given different opportunities in this lifetime. All domestic cats, owned and unowned, are social and complex creatures, and it’s our fault that there is such an overpopulation problem. Irresponsible pet owners who do not spay and neuter their cats and who allow them to roam freely have caused the shocking numbers of unowned cats. With the appropriate awareness of how to reduce these numbers and humanely care for community cats, we can begin to reverse the cycle.

ACALogo

There are two outstanding resources for learning about community — or feral — cats and how to humanely care for them. First, Alley Cat Allies is the national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Alley Cat Allies created National Feral Cat Day to share resources and raise awareness. Visit their website alleycat.org to learn more about them and be sure to visit the National Feral Cat Day website at nationalferalcatday.org to download information and participate in this year’s events.

Another extremely important resource is Vox Felina, written by cat advocate Peter J. Wolf. Peter spends countless hours researching bogus scientific claims made against feral cats, debunking illogical arguments calling for their destruction. Peter’s writing is thorough, well-crafted and heartfelt. He is truly one of the most important voices for the cats. Please visit VoxFelina.com to read his work.

There are many, many other wonderful organizations throughout the country working to help community cats. If you are involved in any of these organizations, if you participate in TNR Trap-Neuter-Return, or if you help care for a feral cat colony, THANK YOU for what you’re doing to help the cats. Happy National Feral Cat Day!

via National Feral Cat Day 2013 — hauspanther.


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Pet Lover’s Spay Neuter License Plate

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Could they be any more perfect?

Could they be any more perfect?

When I brought in the mail tonight, there was an envelope that looked and felt like new license plates but I couldn’t imagine why I would be getting new ones. When I opened the envelope, I was so excited! It was my new California Pet Lover’s Spay Neuter license plate. I ordered it so long ago that I totally forgot about it. They had to have 7,500 pre-ordered in order for the plate to be approved. They reached that number and the plates have begun shipping. Click here to read the press release.

The plate was designed by actor and environmentalist Pierce Brosnan. The proceeds from the plate will generate additional funding for free and low-cost spay neuter surgeries throughout California and will be another tool to stem pet overpopulation and the euthanizing of millions of unwanted pets in state shelters.

pet lover's spay neuter license plate

About $40 from every plate will go to the spay/neuter fund. You can order yours now at DMV. Standard plates are $50 and personalized plates are $98. Can’t wait to put mine on in the morning.


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Remember Me Thursday

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Remember Me ThursdayHave you heard about the Remember Me Thursday Pet Adoption Awareness Campaign? This is the first annual event created by Mike Arms, President and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. 

Click on the links to the Remember Me Thursday website below to learn more and see how you can participate.

Remember Me Thursday – Pet Adoption Awareness Campaign

Millions of shelter pets lose their lives each and every year. Join the awareness campaign – be a light for pets by promoting awareness about pet adoption. By remembering those we have lost, we can shine a light on the ones we can save.

About the Pet Candle Lighting Ceremony

Be a Part of the Awareness Movement

Did you know?

Only 30% of pets in US households come from rescue facilities.

(Source: The Humane Society of the United States 2013)
Each year, over 3.4 million orphan shelter pets lose their lives without finding their forever home.

(Source: The Humane Society of the United States 2013)

Animal-lovers and animal welfare organizations across the globe will unite on Highlighted Facebook Announcement_DOGThursday, September 26, 2013 (the fourth Thursday of September, annually) with a Remember Me Thursday pet candle-lighting ceremony. The candles, which will be lit on the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle this day (literally or virtually) and to opt to adopt, reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.

Light a Candle For a Pet

If you can’t attend a pet candle lighting ceremony, light a virtual candle at our Memorial Candle Gallery and spread the word about Remember Me Thursday on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Be sure to use #LIGHTFORPETS!


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Dumped Again? — AJ and His Teddy Bear

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AJ and his teddy bear at Castaic shelter

AJ and his teddy bear at the shelter

Well, isn’t this a royal mess! And who is the one suffering? Poor AJ who doesn’t have a clue why he is being shuttled all over Southern California. If you saw our story on September 10th, you know that 10-year-old AJ and his teddy bear were dumped at the Castaic shelter by his owners.

His story spread on Facebook like wildfire thanks to the rescue community and other animal lovers who saw his post. MeoowzResQ was contacted through the rescue network and stepped up to save him. They were in the process of sending a transporter to get him when they were informed that he had been adopted. Someone posted on MeoowzResQ’s Facebook page that the adopter had put a deposit to hold him but the shelter wouldn’t release him until Friday.

MeoowzResQ was given the following story on that Friday by a friend of the adopter. “When the adopter, Tam, got there to pick him up, there was an older lady who was sitting and playing with him, wanting to adopt him. She told them that she had just had to put her cat to sleep and her other cat was despondent. Tam also found out that AJ didn’t get along well with dogs (something the shelter hadn’t mentioned before and Tam has two dogs.) So, Tam let the 85-year-old lady take AJ and even paid the adoption fees for her. AJ has a good home with a lady who cried when she was told that she could take him.” What a lovely story, but it appears to be inaccurate.

After this update was posted, a THIRD person posted that AJ was actually adopted on Wednesday by someone else!!! Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any “getting to the bottom” of what happened on that Friday. Apparently two other kitties got adopted that day, neither of which were AJ. AJ was adopted on Wednesday by Melissa as reported and, that in itself was all that really mattered — until this past Friday. 

On Friday, after little more than a week, Dani Ryan, founder of MeoowzResQ, received an email from AJ’s adopter saying that he wasn’t working out and did she still have room for him! Melissa said that her two cats were not accepting of AJ and she was afraid for his safety. MeoowzResQ had pledged to help whoever adopted AJ with any medical needs he had at the time so, of course, agreed to take him as they had initially intended. 

Will there be a Happy Ending for AJ and His Teddy Bear?

Melissa brought AJ and his teddy bear to Dani this morning. She was very sad as she had grown attached to AJ but said one of her other cats kept attacking him. She had worked on the introduction several times over the past 10 days and it just didn’t work. She feels AJ deserves better and hopes that MeoowzResQ will be able to find him another loving home. Melissa also brought some of the food he likes and a nice carrier.

AJ in his foster home

AJ in his foster home

I was there when Melissa brought AJ. I had come to meet her and pick him up — I’m happy to say that I am AJ’s foster! I tried to get a good photo of him but he really just wants to hide right now. After he has had some time to settle in, I will introduce him to some of the cats at my house and see how he does. I will evaluate him to see what type of home might be best for him. He seems like such a sweet guy! I’ll keep you posted.


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National Preparedness Month

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Are you prepared for an emergency? In a Citizen Corps National Survey taken in September is National Preparedness Month2009, less than 50% of Americans surveyed reported having a household emergency plan. This month is the 10th annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security. September was chosen as National Preparedness Month, as the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 highlighted to the nation the importance of being prepared.

Disaster can strike at any time without warning but you can take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in your home. FEMA has identified four major steps to being prepared:

  1. Be informed
  2. Make a plan
  3. Build a kit
  4. Get involved

Building a Kit

Remember Your Pets in Your Plan

Make a plan that includes your pets during National Preparedness MonthWhen you are making your plan and building your kit, remember to include your pets. Leaving them behind in a disaster puts them and others at risk. 

Having proper identification on your pet is important every day but essential in a disaster. You may have a carrier to take pets to the vet or groomer but do you have one for each pet? Be sure each crate has identification on it. Familiarize your pets with the crates before they are needed. Know where you will go when you evacuate. Pets may not be allowed in human shelters so know where pet friendly hotels are or make arrangements to stay with a friend or relative outside of the disaster area.

Disaster Supplies for Pets

  • Food (in airtight waterproof containers or cans) and water for at Cats in cratesleast 2 weeks for each pet
  • Food and water bowls and a manual can opener
  • For cats: litter box and litter
  • For dogs: plastic bags for poop
  • Clean-up items for bathroom accidents (paper towels, plastic trash bags, bleach-containing cleaning agent)
  • Medications for at least 2 weeks, along with any treats used to give the medications and pharmacy contact for refills
  • Medical records
    • Rabies vaccination certificate
    • Current vaccination record
    • If your pet has a microchip, a record of the microchip number
    • Prescription for medication(s)
    • For cats, most recent FeLV/FIV test result or vaccination date
    • Summary of pertinent medical history; ask your veterinarian for a copy
  • Sturdy leashes or harnesses
  • Carrier or cage that is large enough for your pet to stand comfortably and turn around; towels or blankets
  • Pet toys and bed (familiar items to help the pet[s] feel more comfortable).
  • A handout containing identification Adobe PDF file information (in the event you get separated from your pet)
    • Current photo of pet
    • Pet’s descriptive features (age, sex, neutered/non-neutered status, color(s), and approximate weight)
    • Microchip number
    • Owner contact information (cell phone, work phone, home phone)
    • Contact information of a close relative or friend,
  • A handout with boarding instructions, Adobe PDF file such as feeding schedule, medications, and any known allergies and behavior problems
  • Documents, medications, and food should be stored in waterproof containers

More Information for Pet Owners


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Update on AJ

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MeoowzResQ just announced on their Facebook page that AJ, the senior cat who was dumped by his owners at the Castaic shelter with his teddy bear, was adopted from the shelter earlier today. All the out-pouring of caring and sharing helped find him a forever family. The adopter will be able to take AJ home on Friday and MeoowzResQ is hoping to get some photos of him in his new home to post for all who promoted him to see. 


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