Monthly Archives: December 2010

More Cat Facts

If left to her own devices, a female cat may have three to seven kittens every four months. This is why population control using spaying and neutering is so important.

If your cat is in the habit of rolling over and exposing his stomach, you can be sure he feels perfectly safe with you. It’s also a way of demonstrating his pleasure in your company.

If your cat snores, or rolls over on his back to expose his belly, it means he trusts you.

In 1888, an estimated 300,000 mummified cats were found at Beni Hassan, Egypt. They were sold at $18.43 per ton, and shipped to England to be ground up and used for fertilizer.

In addition to using their noses, cats can smell with the Jacobson’s organ which is located in the upper surface of the mouth.

In ancient Egypt, the entire family would shave their eyebrows off as a sign of mourning when the family cat died.

In cats, the calico and tortoiseshell coats are sex-linked traits. All cats displaying these coats are female… or occasionally sterile males.

In general, cats live longer than most dogs. An average life span might be 12 to 14 years. Some cats are reaching 20 or more. A cat’s longevity depends on feeding, genetics, environment, veterinary care and some other factors. It is also important whether or not the cat lives indoors or is allowed outdoors (outdoor cats live an average of eight years). The general consensus is that at about age seven the cat can be considered as “middle-aged”, and at age 10 and beyond – old.

In relation to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.

In relation to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.

In the 9th century, King Henry I of Saxony decreed that the fine for killing a cat should be sixty bushels of corn.

In the Middle Ages, during the Festival of Saint John, cats were burned alive in town squares.

In the midst of building the Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington, engineers were stymied by the problem of threading a cable through a pipeline until an anonymous cat saved the day. Harnessed to the cable, this unknown hero crawled through the pipeline maze to successfully finish the job.

It has been established that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.

It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one’s blood pressure.

It is a common belief that cats are color blind; but recent studies have shown that cats can see blue, green, and red.

Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK!

Dog trainer and behavioral consultant Chris Shaughness has announced the release of “Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK!” a book that reveals the inspirational stories of people who adopted dogs used as breeders in puppy mills, the adult male and female dogs kept captive their entire life to produce puppies for pet stores.

“Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK!” details the behaviorial and health issues presented by rescue dogs and the puppies they produce, and also provides both practical advice for overcoming these problems and and other training challenges common to all dog owners.

This book can be purchased online at or

Holiday Pet Poisoning Myths Debunked!

Veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline Clear the Confusion
Holiday festivities, decorations and rich foods can wreak havoc on undiscerning pets who love to taste test everything that appears new and interesting. While pet owners need to be made aware of the very real and dangerous threats to pets this time of year, the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline would also like to debunk several common myths that cause unnecessary stress each holiday season.

Holiday Myths Debunked!

According to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline, these are the most common myths concerning pet safety during the holiday season.

Myth #1 – Poinsettias are highly toxic. Although they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are only mildly dangerous to dogs and cats and their relative toxicity has been quite exaggerated. The most problematic component of the plant is its sticky white sap that may cause mild mouth or stomach irritation if ingested. Contact with the skin may also result in mild irritation. However, serious poisoning is not expected from ingestion.

Myth #2 – Mistletoe is toxic. Like poinsettias, American mistletoe, which is a popular plant used as holiday décor, also gets a bad rap. Rumors of its toxic nature are largely attributed to its cousin, European mistletoe. Though ingestion of American mistletoe leaves or berries may cause mild stomach upset, serious or life-threatening poisoning is not likely.

Myth #3 – Fruitcake is a healthy holiday treat. While fruitcake may be a fine food for people, it can actually be deadly to pets. Grapes, raisins and currants are common ingredients in fruitcakes and can result in kidney failure in dogs if ingested. Additionally, fruitcake that has been soaked in rum or other alcohol may also prove poisonous to your pet if ingested. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect pets quickly, causing a dangerous drop in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Myth #4 – Tinsel is a pet-friendly decoration. An ornament that pet owners should avoid is tinsel for decorating trees. If you own a cat, toss the tinsel! What looks like a shiny toy can prove deadly if ingested. While tinsel itself is not poisonous, it can result in a severe linear foreign body, which occurs when something “stringy” wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, the string can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract. Treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery. It’s best to keep tinsel, as well as ribbon, yarn and thread out of your pet’s reach.

“Dogs, cats, birds and other pets often use their mouths to investigate new things,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “Much like small children, they simply cannot resist the temptation to chew on potentially harmful plants, foods and other ‘goodies.’ Thankfully, it’s easy for pet owners to educate themselves about common pet poisons. At you can view and print our list of toxic foods and post it on your refrigerator as a reminder. This is also a way to discourage your holiday guests from feeding Fido poisonous people food!”

Real Holiday Dangers

Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, day and Easter, make lovely centerpieces but are also extremely toxic to cats. These beauties fall into the category of real and acute danger. As little as one or two petals or leaves, and even the pollen, can cause sudden kidney failure. They should be kept well out of kitty’s reach. Thankfully, dogs are not as severely affected by lilies with only mild stomach upset expected.

While not as toxic as lilies, ingestion of Christmas cactus by dogs and cats can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Likewise, the spiny and leathery leaves of the Christmas or English holly can result in significant damage to the stomach and intestines of dogs and cats. The holly’s berries have mildly toxic properties, but are fairly tolerable in most pets. While death is not likely, it’s best to keep your pets away from these holiday plants.

Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine is inviting, but if you heat scented oils in a simmer pot, be aware that it can cause serious harm to your cat. Some liquid potpourris contain chemicals called cationic detergents, which can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing and tremors. Dogs are not as sensitive to the chemicals but may still suffer burns so it’s still better to be safe than sorry. Scent your home with a non-toxic candle in a safe no-pet zone.

With the holiday season comes delightful baked goods, confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise, and sometimes quite dangerous, to share these foods with your pets. Keep them on their regular diets over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak them these kinds of treats. Some of the most dangerous foods are chocolate and cocoa, sugarless gum and candy containing xylitol, leftover fatty meat scraps, and unbaked bread dough containing yeast.

Make this holiday season merrier for you and your pets by keeping dangerous items safely out of their reach. If, however, you think your pet may have ingested something harmful, take action immediately. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

About Pet Poison Helpline

Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $35 per incident includes unlimited follow-up consultations. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 1-800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at

Kroger Recalls Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk

CINCINNATI, Ohio–The Kroger Co. said today it is recalling select packages of pet food sold in some of its retail stores because the products may contain aflatoxin, which poses a health risk to pets. Kroger stores in the following states are included in this recall: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The recall also includes Dillons and Gerbes stores in Kansas and Missouri; Baker’s stores in Nebraska; Food 4 Less stores in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana (Chicago area); and Jay C, Hilander, Owen’s, Pay Less and Scott’s stores in Illinois and Indiana. Stores the company operates under the following names are not included in this recall: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., and Food 4 Less stores in California and Nevada.

Kroger is recalling the following items:
• Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088128
• Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071357
• Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088152
• Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074580
• Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071903
• Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074566
• Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074563
• Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111000018
• Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071559
• Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code:1111000108

Aflatoxin is a naturally-occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. If your pet shows any symptoms of illness, including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

The safety of our customers and their pets is important to Kroger. The company is using its Customer Recall Notification system to alert customers who may have purchased these recalled products through register receipt tape messages and automated phone calls. Customers who have purchased a recalled item should not use it and should return it to a store for a full refund or replacement.

Customers who have questions about this recall may contact Kroger toll-free at (800) 632-6900. For more information, please visit

Source: The Kroger Co.

Sniffing Out Cancer

Dogs as Cancer Detectors
By Maggie Koerth for MSN Health & Fitness

Man’s real best friend may be his best friend’s nose. Dogs’ sense of smell is incredibly powerful, but it wasn’t until recently that scientists began siccing that sense on cancerous tumors. Researchers wondered if canines could be trained to smell the chemical difference between patients with cancer and those without. So far, the results have been promising. Studies show test dogs can accurately pick out patients with lung, breast, ovarian and bladder cancers. In some cases, the pups have hit accuracy rates as high as 97 percent.

But don’t book an appointment with Dr. Beagle just yet. The detection method is still in its early stages of research. To really prove that dog detection can work, researchers will need to show that dogs can identify afflicted patients who haven’t yet been diagnosed by traditional means, as opposed to using previously diagnosed cancer patients and healthy controls. Critics argue the dogs might not be smelling cancer, but instead some olfactory evidence of lifestyle differences between healthy people, and those who are already addressing (and worrying about) an illness.

Low Shedding Small Breed Dogs

Here is a list of small dogs that don’t shed, or shed very little.

Chinese Crested (
Silky Terrier (
Shih Tzu (
Border Terrier (
Boston Terrier (
Miniature Schnauzer (
Miniature Poodle (
Maltese (
Australian Terrier (
Scottish Terrier(Scottie) (
Welsh Terrier (
Norfolk Terrier (
Havanese (
West Highland Terrier(Westie) (
Yorkshire Terrier(Yorkie) (
Cairn Terrier (
Bichon Frise (
Italian Greyhound (

The Dalmatian’s History in Fire Service

“The Dalmatian is a very physical breed, with a strong, muscular body, and able to run great distances without tiring. The Dalmatian also has what seems to be a natural calming effect on horses. This trait about the breed was seen very early on, and soon the Dalmatian was identified with horses. Possibly horse mounted warriors or hunters first used the breed in their activities. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries when the mode of travel was by horse or by carriage, the Dalmatians became a society dog, and trained to run along side women’s carriages. They became known as Coach dogs or Ladies dogsbecause of this. In fact, the term coaching is referring to how the Dalmatian will take up position justoff the side and towards the rear of a horse and run with them.

In the 1700’s, dalmatians were used to protect horses that pulled English stagecoaches. Typically two dalmatians would run next to the horses as they pulled the coach. When other dogs tried to run out and scare the horses, the dalmatian team would chase them away. Over the years, dalmatians formed a close bond with horses.

During this time, horse theft was very common. Because of the potential for theft, stagecoach drivers would typically sleep in a hammock strung between two stalls where they would watch for thieves. However, because of the bond between the dalmatians and the horses, the driver could sleep in a hotel or house if he owned a dalmatian. Why? Because the dalmatians would sleep with the horses and guard against horse theft.

It is during the era of horse drawn fire apparatus that the Dalmatian becomes forever tied to the Fire Service. These fire house horses were required to spend hours at a time at a fire scene, or hours inside the fire house waiting for a call, and despite many misbeliefs, these fire house horses were not broken down old hags, but fine spirited horses. The Dalmatian became the horses pet as it were, to help keep them calm. There are many reports and stories of seeing a fire team rushing to the scene of a call, with a Dalmatian or two running between the horse teams. Once on the scene of the call, the Dalmatian took over as guard dog, insuring that nothing was stolen from the apparatus. The Dalmatian is a very loyal breed to its owners, and an admirable foe when challenged.

Because of the dog/horse bond, the dalmatian easily adapted to the firehouse in the days of horse-drawn fire wagons. Since every firehouse had a set of fast horses to pull the pumper, it became common for each group of firefighters to keep a dalmatian in the firehouse to guard the firehouse and horses. When the alarm came in, the dalmatian led the way for the horse-drawn pumper. In this way, the dalmatian became the firefighters’ companion and a symbol of the fire service. Today, dalmatians are still found in many firehouses in England, Canada, and the United States.

Because of this loyalty, the Dalmatian continued in the Fire Service once the horses were replaced with mechanical apparatus. Today, in many large cities, the Dalmatian is the guard dog of the fire truck while at the scene of fires and rescues. In its long history in the Fire Service, there are also reports of how the Dalmatian has rescued trapped firefighters or victims. Overall, the Dalmatian is a brave and valiant dog.”


Soothing the Depressesd

Calming the Anxious and Soothing the Depressed
Everybody runs into negative feelings at times, including fear, stress, and anxiety, but some people are hit harder than others, and studies show that animals may be able to help. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to have at least a moderate effect on improving the emotional well-being of humans.

According to a large 2007 study in the journal Anthrozoös, researchers have successfully used animals to calm patients prior to a potentially frightening medical procedure; help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder conquer their fears; and decrease symptoms in people suffering from depression. How does it work? A 2000 study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that positive interaction with dogs can give a boost to the brain chemicals that lower blood pressure, which could be the biological basis behind these animal-assisted therapies.

Cat Age Equivalency

Kitten birth to 6 months
A kitten that is 0-1 month old is equivalent to a human that is 0-1 year of age
A kitten that is 2-3 months old is equivalent to a human that is 2-4 years old
A kitten that is 4 months old is equivalent to a human that is 6-8 years old
A kitten that is 6 months old is equivalent to a human that is 10 years old

Junior 7 months to 2 years
A cat that is 7 months old is equivalent to a human that is 12 years old
A cat that is 12 months old is equivalent to a human that is 15 years old
A cat that is 18 months old is equivalent to a human that is 21 years old
A cat that is 2 years old is equilavent to a human that is 24 years old

Prime 3-6 years
A cat that is 3 years old is equivalent to a human that is 28 years old
A cat that is 4 years old is equivalent to a human that is 32 years old
A cat that is 5 years old is equivalent to a human that is 36 years old
A cat that is 6 years old is equivalent to a human that is 40 years old

Mature 7-10 years
A cat that is 7 years old is equivalent to a human that is 44 years old
A cat that is 8 years old is equivalent to a human that is 48 years old
A cat that is 9 years old is equivalent to a human that is 52 years old
A cat that is 10 years old is equivalent to a human that is 56 years old

Senior 11-14 years
A cat that is 11 years old is equivalent to a human that is 60 years old
A cat that is 12 years old is equivalent to a human that is 64 years old
A cat that is 13 years old is equivalent to a human that is 68 years old
A cat that is 14 years old is equivalent to a human that is 72 years old

Geriatric over 15 years
A cat that is 15 years old is equivalent to a human that is 76 years old
A cat that is 16 years old is equivalent to a human that is 80 years old
A cat that is 17 years old is equivalent to a human that is 84 years old
A cat that is 18 years old is equivalent to a human that is 88 years old
A cat that is 19 years old is equivalent to a human that is 92 years old
A cat that is 20 years old is equivalent to a human that is 96 years old
A cat that is 21 years old is equivalent to a human that is 100 years old

Holiday Hazards

Holiday season plants to avoid:

Lilies found in holiday flower arrangements can be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, cause acute kidney failure in cats.

Poinsettias generally have low toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias irritate the mouth and stomach, causing mild vomiting or nausea.

Mistletoe can have a cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) toxic effect. More commonly, however, mistletoe ingestion usually causes gastrointestinal upset.

Holly ingestion can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Please call your veterinarian for advice in all cases to ensure that your pet doesn’t need emergency veterinary care.

Hazards around the christmas tree:

Christmas tree water often contains fertilizers, that, if ingested, cause stomach upsets. Stagnant tree water can have extremely high bacterial content, which can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.

Electric cords should be hidden or covered safely. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet.

Ribbons or tinsel can get stuck in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction if ingested.

Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause serious ulceration to the mouth, tongue and intestines.

Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.