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Cats in the Garden

Cats and our gardens are generally a bad combination. Whether it's our own beloved feline crushing our prized perennials or a neighbour's cat improvising a litter box on our lawn, cats and gardens are a bad mix. However don't lose hope, cats are intelligent and can easily be conditioned to respect our gardens. This can be applied to whether we want to create a "cat zone" in our garden for our own feline, or if we want to keep the marauding mass of neighbourhood cats away.

Of course the best and most effective solution would be to keep our cats indoors and only allow them outdoor on a leash. The primary cause of early cat mortality and development of infectious disease is from their unsupervised outdoor wanderings. While we can insure that our own cats become "leash lovers", we cannot control the actions of others, thus we need to be aware of the variety of ways to keep cats from claiming our gardens.

While some prefer to "acquaint" unwelcome cats with a quick and unexpected squirt from their garden hose, this method can traumatize the poor animal and only works if you guard your property militantly for weeks until they have associated your property with "water attacks". A more subtle, yet effective method would be to plant Rue throughout your garden wherever your "guests" frequent. Cats find the strong odour of Rue to be extremely offensive. Other "odourifous" methods include: Scattering cayenne pepper after every rainfall in your garden, spreading crushed hot peppers, and pouring a mixture of grapefruit and lemon rind throughout the garden.

Another possible solution is to spray your property with predatory urine. Cats mark their personal territories through the process of spraying their "turf". Individuals can purchase "urine" sprays for their garden that in effect "mark" their lawn, signifying a dominant cat has already claimed the garden. You can even go so far as to order Coyote urine to mark your property (just don't tell the neighbours what you are spraying or they will think you are insane). Another possibility is the "Get off my Garden" crystals from Australia. These clear crystals ward off neighbouring cats through an intense odour (unnoticeable to humans). They actually become more effective after each rainfall. Finally, there are the American electronic-fright devices such as Scat Cat and Scarecrow. Both apply the same method of unexpected movement, flashing lights and surprise.

On the other hand, creating a "Cat Garden" within your existing garden can be both enjoyable for yourself and your beloved pet. By creating a "room of their own" in the garden, you not only increase their stimulation, but also deter them from approaching or damaging other areas of your garden.

Of course the plant to begin with is Nepeta Cataria, otherwise known as Catnip. This lush, beautiful plant with its scattering of pale blossoms will not only amuse your cat, it will be a beautiful addition to your garden. Just remember to put it into the mid or back section of your "Cat garden", as it will take a fair amount of abuse from your feline. Other plants to include in your cat's garden are: Catmint (Nepeta mussinii), an elegant hardy plant with attractive silver leaves that your cat will enjoy rolling in. Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) a member of the mint family, will provide hours of enjoyment with its subtle and intoxicating aroma. Silver Vine (Actinidia plygama), Valerian (Valeriana officianalis) and Cat grass, will all create a sense of ecstatic frenzy in your cat. Their intoxicating aromas and enjoyable texture will amuse your cat for hours. In addition, all of these plants are visually stunning and will help you to create a beautiful and dramatic design.

To truly create a Garden of Eden for your cat you will also need to have a secluded (hidden) area of litter for your cat, just remember to use the non-clumping formula.

Through a mixture of these methods our furry felines and we can live not only in harmony, but appreciate the wonders of nature together.

Great Design in essence is about the creation of an exquisite stage for the beauty and quality of life we all desire. From ultra urban to ornate opulence, Robin and his team have passionately and successfully designed it all. Robin's interiors have graced the pages of magazines Worldwide. Robin has designed interiors for feature films, major retailers such as Home Depot (Style Ideas Magazine) and the Designer Showhouse. From smaller scale interior projects to full scale restorations and developments, Robin's passionate and creative eye overseas all aspects. While fluent in all design trends and philosophies, Robin is most passionate about historic preservation and the creation of elegant, functional and memorable spaces that convey the best attributes of each owner while respecting and celebrating the architecture that encompasses them. Visit

Cat Fleas

There are more than 2,000 species of fleas around us. Out of these, the most common one is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. The cat adult fleas, unlike many other fleas, remain on the host. Though it exists worldwide, it is most commonly found in the United States. Cat fleas are commonly found on both cats and dogs.

In order to reproduce, cat fleas needs fresh blood. They lay eggs at the rate of one egg per hour. Their life cycle consists of four stages of metamorphosis, namely egg, larval, pupa and adult. Depending on external environmental factors like temperature and humidity, this cycle lasts 30 to 75 days. The most common problem occurring due to flea bites is flea allergy dermatitis, the severity of which depends upon the sensitivity of the host. Pet owners in the United States spend millions of dollars each year on flea allergy remedies. Cat fleas often carry infection too, and are feared to be capable of carrying plague and typhus. They also serve as the intermediate host to the dog tapeworm, an intestinal parasite, which gets transmitted to the pest when the flea carrying the tapeworm cyst is ingested.

The only possible way to detect fleas is to observe the behavior of your pets. Early detection of the fleas enables you to control them and minimize the suffering that can be caused to you and your pets by allergies or more serious infections transmitted by them. The most important way to control the breeding of fleas is to take proper care of sanitation of your indoor and outdoor premises. Ensuring proper care of pets by washing and shampooing them regularly is also another important factor. There are varieties of shampoos available in the market for pets, which contain pesticides, and are helpful in eradication of fleas.

Only by being conscious of cleanliness can we rid ourselves of the annoyance and hazards spread by cat fleas: by preventing them from breeding in and around our homes and pets.

Fleas [] provides detailed information about fleas defined, cat fleas, dog fleas, flea bites and more. Fleas is the sister site of Pitbulls Info [].

Information on Extreme Cat Urine Cleaners, Removers and How to Clean Cat Urine

Cat toilet training in easy steps:

Toilet training your cat is an easier task than you might think. Several techniques can be used for training your cat to use the toilet, and you can even buy products that will assist you in toilet training a cat.

The advantages of cat toilet training:

Teaching your cat to use the toilet can hold several advantages for any cat owner. The biggest advantage of having your cat use a toilet is that eliminates most of the disadvantages that using cat litter holds. Cat litter is expensive. After toilet training your cat, you won't ever need to buy cat litter again. Cat litter boxes needs to be cleaned regularly or they will become smelly. With cat toilet training, the water in the toilet masks most of the offending smell and all you need to do is flush regularly - much simpler and easier than cleaning a litter box. Going away for weekends or holidays also becomes easier for your neighbor - instead of asking someone to clean out the litter box, all they need to do is flush your toilet once in a while (when they come around to water your plants and feed your cat).

How to toilet train a cat (do it yourself):

Toilet training your cat depends entirely on the cat's personality. Toilet training sociable cats that love being praised make the training task much easier. You might want to adapt the toilet training technique described below to fit your cat's personality. Training your cat to use the toilet can take anything between 2 weeks up to 3 months, depending on the individual cat's personality.

Cat toilet training basically consists of a simple procedure: gradually moving your cat's litter box closer and closer to the toilet, finally placing a bowl with cat litter inside the toilet, and removing it altogether when your cat is comfortable and used to it. Toilet training a cat is a gradual, step-by-step process, consisting of making small changes to the location of the litter box and only continuing to the next step when your cat is entirely comfortable with its current situation. You might have to wait anything between 2 days or 3 weeks before moving on a next step in cat toilet training. You might even have to go back a step once or twice when it turns out that your cat wasn't ready to move on to the next toilet training step. Beware - cat toilet training takes a lot of patience!

Cat toilet training steps:

1. Start gradually moving your cat's litter box nearer to the toilet until finally it should be next to the toilet. Ensure that your cat is always comfortable and sure of its litter box's location.

2. Now start elevating the cat's litter box. Put something non-slippery like newspapers or cardboard underneath the litter box. A normal rate to increase the height of the litter box would be about 5cm a day, but be very attentive to signs that your cat is not comfortable with the current height, and adjust the pace of raising the litter box accordingly. The cat litter box should be raised until it is at a level height with the toilet bowl. Throughout this process it is very important to keep the toilet lid open and the seat down, because your cat will get used to it and might even start climbing on the toilet seat in order to reach its litter box.

3. Move the litter box to rest on the open toilet seat. Keep it there until your cat seems comfortable with this arrangement.

4. Buy a metal bowl or tray that will fit snugly inside the toilet bowl. It would be advisable for the metal bowl to have small draining holes. Fill the bowl with cat litter (preferably the flushable type). Now remove your cat's litter box entirely. If you have reached this step successfully you are very close to having a toilet trained cat!

5. While your cat is using the metal bowl inside the toilet, be attentive to where its paws are. The goal is teaching him to squat with all four paws on the toilet seat rim. You can move the cat while it is using the toilet and praise it (or reward it) when it is sitting in the correct position. Normally the cat will first sit entirely inside the metal bowl, then with front paws on the toilet seat, and finally it should sit with all four paws on the toilet.

6. Start using less and less cat litter. This can get smelly, so be sure to clean the bowl after every time your cat uses it. Cats scratch in sand or cat litter to cover up the smell (this is out of instinct), so if the bowl becomes too smelly your cat won't be comfortable using it (and you probably wouldn't be comfortable with using your toilet either). Using flushable cat litter makes cleaning the bowl very easy - just throw out the contents in the toilet and flush down, rinse out the bowl, refill with correct amount of cat litter and replace. A handy tip is to place newspaper on the floor around the toilet to help keep the room clean should your cat scratch in the cat litter. Decrease the amount of cat litter in a pace that your cat feels comfortable with.

7. When you basically don't use any cat litter inside the bowl anymore, start gradually filling the bowl with water. The water will also help mask the smell so your cat will be more comfortable using the toilet. Be attentive to your cat's behavior through this whole process - if your cat stops using the bowl inside the toilet, you may be moving on too fast and might need to go back a couple of steps.

8. When the water level in the bowl has reached about 4cm and your cat has no problem using it, it is time to remove the bowl entirely. Your cat should now be toilet trained. Remember to always leave the toilet seat up and flush regularly!

Products to assist you in toilet training your cat:

There are several cat toilet training kits available on the market. They basically consist of a tray that fits inside the toilet, and with a hole in the middle that you can gradually make bigger. When choosing a cat toilet training kit, ensure that you buy quality. The cat training kit should not be flimsy and should be able to support your cat's weight even when the hole becomes large. Be aware of cheap, flimsy products you buy at toy stores or pet stores, because if your cat falls in, it might loose interest in toilet training completely.

The disadvantages in toilet training your cat:

Not everyone agrees that cat toilet training is such a great idea. They argue that it is unnatural for a cat to use a toilet, as it goes against their natural instincts to cover up their smell. Toilet seats can also be slippery and there might be the risk of your cat injuring itself. Even if your cat doesn't fall in at all, he may become anxious whenever he uses the toilet and going to the toilet can become an unpleasant task.

A litter box also has the health benefit in that you can easier monitor your cat's urine for signs of infections or sickness.

Moving locations will also be harder for the cat, because a litter box can be moved easily but the cat will first need to get used to using the new toilet. With some cats this is no problem and they can become comfortable with the new toilet very fast, while other cats might be less adaptable.

Things to remember when toilet training a cat:

The most important thing to remember is that the toilet training should be done gradually. Be very patient and never rush to the next step until you are sure that you cat is completely comfortable with the current setup.
Make using the toilet as easy as you can for the cat. Always remember to keep the toilet seat up and the bathroom door open. When you have guests, ensure that they also know about considering your cat. Flush the toilet regularly as cats do not like using smelly toilets.

Claudine du Plessis is a cat-lover and webmaster of

I'll Take My Cat

The battle between cats & dogs has been waged since the dawn of time. Seemingly opposites, cats & dogs can be seen as metaphors for the two sides of our own psyche. The desperate side of us that wants nothing more than to be loved; and the independent side, that can take care of itself.

The dog loves everyone. He is sloppy and carefree. He is unashamed of his feelings and will walk through fire if it pleases his owner. Dogs will wear funny hats for us, point at birds for us, they'll even go out in the snow to fetch the newspaper at the end of the driveway for us. In exchange for this embarrassing level of devotion, they depend on us for everything. Dogs must be walked, fed, and bathed by their owners. They can't take care of even the most basic needs in life. Dogs need us. They really, really need us.

Cats, on the other hand, don't need anyone. They can take care of themselves. Cats are
wholly and completely self-sufficient. Cats prefer to be left alone. They don't want to be
bothered with the pettiness of our silly lives. Cats won't be made fools of. They have too
much self-respect. A cat won't come running to lick your face when you come home.
He's got other things on his mind. While, the dog has been sitting there for 9 hours
waiting for your return, the cat hasn't even noticed that you left.

Take your dog out for a walk and you'd better bring a poop bag to dispose of the giant
deposit he's going to make on your neighbor's lawn. Cats can take care of their own
bathroom needs, thank-you very much. All they need from us is a relatively clean litter
box. Heck, if you let the cat outside, he'll very neatly take care of his business, and not
on the neighbor's lawn, where everyone can see it. The cat will sneak quietly behind the
bushes to relieve himself, and then cover it up so we don't have look at it.

It's natural for a cat to adapt to whatever situation life presents. Why do you think cats on
the loose are called "alley cats" while loose dogs are called "strays?" It's natural to
assume that a dog is lost if he is without a human companion. Cats can live their whole
lives without human contact. Cats can catch birds or mice to eat, find warm places to
sleep, and even bathe themselves. A stray dog won't catch and eat a squirrel. No, he'll
degrade himself by digging through a garbage can to find the leftover tuna noodle
casserole you threw away.

A dog will be your best friend for life, as long as you feed him. It's true that dogs are very
loyal, but that loyalty can be swayed very easily by anyone with snausages to offer.
Cats don't give their affection away like dogs do. You must earn a cat's trust and
devotion. Being loved by a cat is the ultimate indication of your value as a being on this
planet. If a cat trusts and respects you, you can be sure that you are truly worthy! If a
dog loves you, it's probably because you smell like bacon.

Jeffrey Dorrian is the soap guy. Really, that is his website He has been making premium olive oil soap for the past five years.

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Saving Ginger From Being Put to Sleep - Part 3

The Story Concludes

It's been quite a while since Ginger's original story was posted. I thought I'd let those of you who followed the story know the conclusion.

Ginger (a.k.a. "Redpuss") is a half-ginger, half white, 12-year-old tom who suffered some bad health problems a year or so ago, including cat flu, 6 rotten teeth (with accompanying toothache) and associated chronic infection, a septic lip, ear mites, skin allergies and a heart murmur. You may have already read my previous articles about him and how a number of generous people donated funds to cover his vet bills.

While his health problems were sorted out, finding a new home for him proved to be something of a problem. Neither friends nor family were in a position to take him in for two reasons - he's a cat-flu carrier (and my vet was insistent that Ginger should not go to a house that already has a cat) and his age (people are too worried that an ageing cat just meant big medical bills down the road). Notices stuck up in supermarkets, libraries and vet clinics didn't get a single reply. Neither did putting appeals in classified ads papers.

I contacted a few catteries to see if they could offer any leads I could follow up on. While they couldn't suggest anyone to place the cat with, they suggested contacting an animal shelter who didn't euthanise unwanted animals. Unfortunately, when I contacted them, they told me they only now dealt exclusively with dogs (apparently there'd been unholy war between the cats and dogs when they catered for both). They advised me to contact the local Cat Protection Association through their webpage.

Emails to their advertised email address went unanswered and after several aborted phone calls, I got a message saying that they'd moved and had a new phone number. I tried that only to get a message saying they were unavailable for several days and to leave a message. I did, but with less than ten days remaining before a final decision would have to be made as to whether to have him put to sleep or not, time was running out for Ginger. (this was back in April 2005).

Then, on the weekend prior to what could become a fateful day, I received a call telling me that a home had been found for Ginger. It seems that a grand-niece of Ginger's original owner had stepped in to take care of him. So, with just one day to spare, Ginger was whisked off to his new home.

It was a relief knowing that the Sword of Damocles no longer hung over him and that the thought of having to have him put to sleep was no longer a consideration.

He's made a great pet for his new owners as he's a very affectionate cat. With the exception of being a cat-flu carrier, his health is otherwise good. Given what he went though that previous year, he deserved to have a few good, happy years ahead of him and now he has.

Gary Nugent, a software engineer by profession, has been a life-long animal lover, especially of cats and is the webmaster of About Cats - a site that helps you make the best choices to keep your cat healthy, happy and long-lived. You can read Ginger's full story here.

The Geriatric Set: Accommodating Elderly Cats

Coming to terms with one's own mortality is something we all have to face at one time or another during our lives. I've had my own share of introspective moments on life, as I have seen the decline of elderly relatives' health, and experienced the aches and pains associated with getting on in years (and I'm only 36-years-old). The aging process forces us to make adjustments to cater to surfacing limitations, whether we like to embrace them or not.

Our pets zip through their lifecycles much faster than we do, and that point when we need to start making special concessions for them can sneak up without warning. I am currently the proud owner of three fuzzy felines, two of which are in the midst of their twilight years. Göst (15-years-old) and Betty (10-years-old) may revisit moments of their youth by the hyperactiveness that is Otis (8-months-old), but I can see the aging effects when compared to the young spitfire. About a year ago, I started doing things a bit differently to make life easier for them, but it has since spiraled into me spoiling them to the point that they have got to think they hit the kitty lottery by having me for a father.

The first step to easing them into the geriatric state was a food adjustment. I started giving them soft food twice a day, mainly for two reasons: it's easier on the brittle teeth, and the love it, which means that it will be eaten and they will maintain their weight. Of course, none of this really applies to Otis at this point, so he gets to enjoy the benefit of having older siblings.

Lately, Göst has been getting thinner despite the fact that he is eating regularly and still has a hearty appetite (he's the first one to come begging for the afternoon snack). Having seen the decline of a skinny cat last year, I'm not pulling any punches and giving him just about anything he wants in order to keep his weight up. This means lots of extra kitty treats and saucers of cream when the other two are not looking. He has already surpassed the 12-year life expectancy for his breed (Scottish Fold), and I'd like to keep him around a bit longer, no matter what it takes.

Betty seems to be going through some type of kitty menopause, as she has got a new fire in her belly and an attitude that rivals the most ornery teenager. She will hiss at the other two if they even look at her funny, let alone dare to walk up next to her. I know this has a lot to do with the kitten, but her hissing is getting a bit out of control. She seems to have rubbed her throat raw and tends to go into hairball-like coughing fits at least once a week. I coddle her to no end, letting her know that she is very loved, despite the fact that she thinks I brought in Otis to torture her. We have our special alone time when I watch television in my recliner chair, which I believe she looks forward to every day.

I've also noticed that Göst has been derelict in his self-cleaning duties. As an all-white cat, he has always been very pristine and anal about looking his best, but lately he has been a little nappy-looking. It appears that he spends more time bathing the kitten than himself (and the kitten is not so great at reciprocating the favor). I brush him regularly, and that does a good job of picking up the loose hair, but I needed a little something extra. In comes the ionizing brush my mother sent me! I won't pretend to fully understand the mechanics (or is it physics?) of ions, but it does seem to be working well. Göst and Betty have silkier coats and totally enjoy the feeling of being groomed (Otis has not gotten to experience the new brush just yet, as he wants to chew on it any time it gets close to him).

To further cater to the needs of my kitties, I purchased a mini staircase to facilitate the processes of getting on to my bed (their favorite napping destination). I figured this was a necessity, as they were have more difficulty with the jump. A couple of years ago I got a new bed, which included a pillow-top mattress. This mattress is about an inch taller than my old one, so that presented another hurdle (no pun intended) for the elderly twosome. Throw in the bulkiness of a down comforter, and it became quite the daunting task, but they managed.

Over the past couple of months I noticed that something needed to be done to help them out. Betty would make it about three-quarters up, and then claw her way to the top as if she were scrambling for safety at the edge of a cliff - kind of funny to watch, but not fun for her to go through (nor is it good for the condition of my mattress and bedding). Göst would sit on the floor and try to gauge the trajectory and angle of the jump, contemplating whether or not he could actually get up there. It's a pretty pathetic thing to witness, as I can see the frustration in his eyes when he thinks he cannot make it. Sometimes he makes the effort, while other times he simply walks away feeling dejected rather than repositioning himself for an attempt. They took to the stairs almost immediately, and have since grown quite accustomed to it... even Otis finds pleasure in it, though he mostly uses it as a jungle gym or a launching pad for attack.

If I had to choose one special thing I do for the cats that might be deemed to be excessive, I would probably have to say it's that I build fires for them in the winter. When they hear me rattling around the fireplace, they come running knowing that an intense heat-absorbing nap is in store. Of course, I get the benefit of a warm apartment when I have a fire, but I mostly do it because I know the kitties love it, and it's so damn cute to see them sprawled out in front of it, oblivious to the world around them.

When not catering to his cats, Brian Kohlmeier is a co-founder of, which changes the way people exchange goods and services through the Internet. SwapThing [] is a site focused on building a strong swap community online. The ShareThing [] program helps non-profits get access to item & cash donations as well as volunteers and professional services. This article comes with reprint rights. You are free to reprint and distribute as you like. All that we ask is that you do not make any changes, that this resource text is included, and that the links above are intact.

Cat Litter Box Health

Cats are the most popular pets in the United States. According to the latest version of the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2002 Edition) there were almost 70 Million pet cats in the United States. Why are cats so popular? There are as many answers to this question as there are cat owners, but the low health risks cats pose to their owners is certainly near the top of this list. Even though the potential health risks cats pose to people are small, it is important that cat owners are aware of these risks and understand how to reduce them.

The majority of all risks stemming from cat ownership are associated with the cat litter box and/or cat feces. There are two categories of risks. The first category contains health risks posed by bacteria and parasites to both cat owners and their cats. The second category contains injuries resulting from an automatic litter box or self cleaning litter box.

Primarily the health problems experienced by cat owners or their cats come from the first category and the most significant of these risks is called Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can be found in raw or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, dirty cat litter boxes and outdoor soil where cat feces can be found. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite(1). Fortunately, very few people ever experience any symptoms because a healthy person's immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. However, pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems, such as individuals infected with the HIV virus, are at risk and should take precautions to avoid being infected by the parasite. For people in this group a Toxoplasma infection could cause serious health problems to the individual or to a pregnant woman’s unborn child.

Again, most of the 60 million plus American’s infected with Toxoplasmosis parasite will never experience any symptoms. Most of those who do experience symptoms will simply think they have the Flu as the most common symptoms include swollen glands, fever, headache, muscle pain, or a stiff neck. For those in the high risk group, Toxoplasmosis can cause damage to the brain, eyes and internal organs. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, children born with Toxoplasma gondii can suffer from hearing loss, mental retardation, and blindness with some children developing brain or eye problems years after birth(2). The CDC estimates that 400-4000 fetuses are infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite each year and as many as 80 infants die from Toxoplasmosis annually(2).

So how does an individual contract Toxoplasmosis? A Toxoplasmosis infection is caused by ingesting the Toxoplasma gondi parasite. Most cat owners are infected with the parasite by accidentally ingesting infected cat feces. This happens when a person touches their mouth after handling a cat litter box, working in a garden or sand box or touching anything that has come in contact with cat feces(3).

People in the high risk group may wonder whether or not they should give up their cat to avoid infection. According to the CDC, it is not necessary for cat lovers to give up their cats, but it is important for them to protect themselves from infections. The USFDA makes the following recommendations for avoiding infections(2):

1) If possible, have someone else change the litter box. If you have to clean it, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water afterwards.

2) Change the litter box daily. The parasite doesn't become infectious until one to five days after the feces are deposited in the litter box.

3) Wear gloves when gardening in a garden or handling sand from a sandbox because cats may have excreted feces in them. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.

4) Cover outdoor sandboxes to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes.

5) Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food. Never feed your cat raw meat because it can be a source of the Toxoplasmosis gondii parasite.

6) Keep indoor cats indoors. Be especially cautious if you bring outdoor cats indoors.

7) Avoid stray cats, especially kittens.

8) Don't get a new cat while you're pregnant.

Safer Child, Inc. makes the following additional recommendations(4):

1) Have your veterinarian test your cat for the Toxoplasmosis parasite. If you cat is infected, you may want to consider having someone else keep your cat during your pregnancy.

2) Keep sandboxes covered to prevent cats from using the sandbox as a litter box.

3) Be aware of neighborhood sandboxes as the parasite can be brought home on shoes, clothing and toys.

Similar to Toxoplasmosis, Escherichia coli (commonly called E. coli) can infect humans through contact with feline fecal material, although the primary means of infection is through ingestion or raw or undercooked meats. E. Coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Almost all strains of the bacteria are harmless. However a few strains can produce powerful toxins and cause severe illness, especially in children under 5 years of age(5). Symptoms usually include diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In children under 5, 2%-7% of E. coli cases can cause kidney failure. Fortunately, E. coli is easy to prevent. Using the preventative measures, outlined above for Toxoplasmosis will greatly reduce the risks of you or your children contracting an E. coli infection.

In addition to these human risks, there are a few health risks cat litter boxes actually pose to cats that cat owners should be aware of. Just as a dirty litter box poses health risks to humans, cats are equally at risk if forced to use a dirty litter box. Since cats stay clean by licking themselves, allowing a cat’s litter box to get too dirty can cause infections when a cat cleans it’s paws after using the dirty litter box. The most common infection is a urinary tract infection, and although this type of infection is rarely fatal it can be very uncomfortable for your cat and will most likely require treatment by your veterinarian.

Finally, a lesser-known health risk to cats is actually caused by cat litter itself. What many cat owners do not realize is that some types of cat litter can be harmful or even fatal to their cat. Both clumping and non-clumping litters pose health problems to cats. Clumping cat litters are probably the most popular type of cat litter because of their convenience, hygienic qualities and the fact that clumping litters are required for use in self-cleaning litter boxes. Unfortunately, some clumping litters can be harmful to cats. Clay based clumping litters can contain the mineral sodium bentonite, which can be harmful or fatal to your cat. It is best to avoid using clay based cat litters, especially with kittens. Wheat or corn based clumping litters such as Swheat Scoop, World’s Best Cat Litter and Littermaid cat litter work very well and are non-toxic(6).

By their very nature, non-clumping litters do not absorb and isolate a cat’s urine or feces like clumping litters do. As a result, it is much harder to keep your cat’s litter box clean when using non-clumping litter. When using non-clumping litter it is important to frequently clean and disinfect the litter box itself to reduce the chance of bacterial buildups that can cause urinary or other infections in your cat.

The second category of health risks covers injuries caused by an automatic litter box or self cleaning litter box. Occurrences of this type of injury are rare, but they can happen. An automatic or self cleaning litter box does just what it’s name implies. Usually between 10-15 minutes after a cat uses the litter box, the litter box automatically cleans itself by “sweeping” or “raking” the cat waste into a sealed compartment or bag. For cat owners, injuries can occur if a small child or toddler plays with the automatic litter box during the cleaning cycle. All major brands of automatic litter boxes contain sensors to prevent the cleaning mechanism from activating when a cat or other foreign object is inside the box. However, children can still be injured if they put their hand inside the cleaning mechanism in such a manner as to avoid the sensors.

Although these types of injuries are very rare it is best to take precautions. Placing the litter box in a location where your cat can get to it but small children can’t is an easy method. This is good advice for any litter box as this is the best way to keep children from contracting one of the illnesses described earlier in this article. If you can’t keep the automatic litter box out of a child’s reach then it is best to put the litter box inside a litter box cover. There are many types of covers and all of them will help prevent a child from reaching the litter box and the cleaning mechanism. A final option is to unplug the litter box or put it into a “manual operation” mode. Both of these options will require the cat owner to start the cleaning cycle whenever necessary. Although this reduces some of the convenience of an automatic litter box it certainly removes the danger to children.

Automatic or self cleaning litter boxes are completely safe for almost all cats. However, most manufacturers recommend that the litter box be used in “manual operation” mode for cats under 5 lbs. Cats under 5 lbs many not be large enough to activate the sensors and the cleaning mechanism could cause injury. Since most adult cats weigh over 5 lbs, it is only necessary to use the “manual operation” mode until kittens grow to 5 lbs.

This article is not intended to dissuade anyone from owning a cat. 70 Million cat owners can’t be wrong; cats make great pets! So, if you already own a cat or are thinking of becoming a cat owner it simply makes good sense to be aware of the health risks associated with cat ownership. Understanding the risks can definitely increase the enjoyment of cat ownership.

(1)Toxoplasmosis Fact Sheet;

Beware the Attack Cat

Cats have been a part of my household for over forty years; no, not the same cats, but various ones over the years. Many have been protective of their kittens or litter mates or even of their human family members to some extent, but none have been attack cats like Funny Face.

Funny Face choose me; I did not choose him. We had a spayed female named G.G. when my husband brought two kittens home from an auction as a favor for a friend. A brother and sister left from a litter of twelve kittens needed homes. My husband offered help. Funny Face decided that he had found a home and a person of his own.

The first time Funny Face showed protective tendencies, my husband was gone overnight, and the cat, who slept by my feet, jumped from the bed, growling. He ran to the front door, still growling. He rushed to the kitchen and followed the path inside that someone took around the outside of the house, growling constantly. He stood at the back door listening for a couple of minutes, and we both heard someone climb over the back fence. Funny Face ran back to the bed, hopped in his regular spot, and immediately went to sleep. After that, anytime my husband wasn't home, Funny Face became the protector. When my husband was home, guess the cat decided protection was the man's job.

One night, we heard Funny Face yowling outside. Thinking he was hurt, I ran to the door, switching on the light before going out on the porch. I called Funny Face, and he sped to me, his fur and tail literally standing on end. He stopped in front of me and turned to face the blackness beyond the light. My husband joined me before we saw the dog, a broken chain dangling from his collar. Robert sat on the bench on the porch and called the dog to him, hoping to find a phone number or something on the tag which also hung from the collar. Funny Face pressed against my legs as I told him everything was okay.

My husband grasped the dog's collar, trying to read the tag, but he couldn't hold dog and tag. He asked me to see if I could read it. I moved toward the dog, and Funny Face leaped toward the dog, growling and spitting. I scooped the cat into my arms, but he didn't calm down until I moved back into the house. The dog took off, never to be seen by us again.

One time I was in the back yard, and a dog on the other side of the solid wood fence started barking. Funny Face took a defensive stance, once again putting himself between me and the perceived danger, growling and ready to attack.

Researching has not helped me discover if Funny Face's behavior is common. I cannot find any information about a cat acting as he does. Perhaps no one has told him that he is a cat, not a dog. Aggression that others write about concerns cat versus cat or cat aggression toward a person, even its owner, but no word about a protectiveness toward its person.

Funny Face, though, is my attack cat, and anything or anyone who might try to harm me would have to go through him. Here, pretty kitty. That's a good boy.

"To gain the friendship of a cat is a difficult thing. The cat is a philosophical, methodical, quiet animal, tenacious of its own habits, fond of order and cleanliness, and it does not lightly confer its friendship. If you are worthy of its affection, a cat will be your friend, but never your slave. He keeps his free will, though he loves, and he will not do for you what he thinks is unreasonable. But if he once gives himself to you it is with absolute confidence and affection!"
Theophile Gautier, 1850

After teaching for years, Vivian Gilbert Zabel became an author on Writing.Com, http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel, and with books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth found through Barnes and Noble or This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.

Everyday Household Items Could Spell Disaster for Your Cat

Flea Control for Cats: Treatment and Prevention

No need to wrestle your cat into a flea dip anymore. The latest preventive treatments are easy to apply. While shampoos and flea collars are still options, parasitologists have developed wonderful new weapons in the war against fleas and ticks. With simple monthly administrations of these oral, injectable, or topical medications, you can guard your cat against flea and tick infestations. Fleas and ticks are dangerous disease carriers that can make your cat's life miserable. Fleas can transmit tapeworms and cause itchy allergic reactions, which can lead to scratching, hair loss, and infection. Fleas ingest animals' blood, and the bloodsuckers can actually consume so much that some cats die of blood loss. Hence it's crucial to keep your cat flea-free.

These Treatments Keep the Pests Away

New medications prevent infestations by killing the adults that hitch a ride on your furry friend or by keeping their eggs from hatching. Here's what you need to know about the most common flea and tick preventives in your veterinarian's arsenal.

Program contains lufenuron, a chemical that prevents flea eggs from hatching but does not kill adult fleas. It is available as a monthly oral tablet or suspension and as a twice yearly veterinarian administered injection. This compound doesn't work against ticks.
Frontline is available in a dab-on formula or a spray. It uses fipronil to wipe out both fleas and ticks, and it continues to work even after you give your pet a bath.

Advantage (imidacloprid) is a topical treatment that also withstands washings and keeps killing fleas for a full month.

Revolution (selamectin) is the latest big gun among the monthly options for flea and tick prevention. You apply a few drops of the liquid medication to your pet's skin, and it guards against heartworms, flea eggs and adult fleas, ticks, ear mites, hookworms, and roundworms.

If Your Cat Has Been Infested

If you started using one of these flea medications after you discovered a flea infestation, you'll need to treat your house too. Fleas can live for several months in your house and yard, and flea eggs may hatch in your carpet, cushions, and drapes for years. Your cat isn't the only one at risk: People can get irritating fleabites too. Ridding your home of these pests takes time and a concerted approach. Here's what to do.

To get rid of housebound fleas

Use professional flea foggers in each room and sprays for hard-to-reach spots. Clean the flea eggs out of your house by vacuuming several times in a week. After each vacuuming session, remove vacuum bags and tape them closed, then throw the bags away. Also clean your cat's favorite hangouts and wash her bedding regularly.

If your flea problem is recurring

You may need to treat your yard as well. Use professional concentrated yard sprays for the outdoor fight. You can buy many that attach easily to the end of a garden hose for application. It's especially important to spray moist and shaded areas of your yard. Note: You should never use any environmental treatment directly on your pet. Ridding your pet and home of these hardy pests is a tough job, but you'll rest easier knowing that your cat doesn't have to endure the maddening itch or insidious diseases these parasites can inflict.

Chassie has been a volunteer for since April 2000.

Leashing a Cat

Shadow had been the cat in our house for over seven years when we moved from the country into town. His usual lifestyle including roaming our five acres whenever he wished. Moving to town required him to be a "house" cat, and he managed for two months. Then one Friday morning as I left for work, he streaked out the door. I called him, but he was gone.

Oh, well, I thought, he'll be back, probably waiting for me when I get home.

When I arrived home, I asked my husband if he had seen Shadow, and he hadn't. I wasn't really worried, though, until Saturday came but Shadow didn't. By Monday, I began to worried in earnest. I couldn't call the animal control office until they opened at nine, and my planning period began at 8:55. Needless to say I was calling when the clock showed nine o'clock.

"Hello, have you found a large black cat with yellow eyes?" I asked.

"Ma'am, we have four black cats. Can you give any distinguishing marks?"

"He's a male, weighs nearly twenty pounds, but he isn't fat at all. His undercoat is a dark brown, but he looks solid black."

"I think we may have him. Come by, pay the fine, get his shots, and he's yours." The man sounded disgusted. "All he does is sit in the corner of his cage and glare. He was one of the cats brought in that had been trapped by one of the landlords in that neighborhood. Doesn't like cats."

On the way home, I stopped by the animal shelter. Shadow still hunkered in a corner of the cage, glaring. When I called his name, he stood and sauntered to the front of the enclosure, tilted his head and squinted his eyes. He allowed me to pick him up, oomph, heavy cat. When we got into the car, he sat in the passenger seat ignoring me until we were nearly to the house. Then with one bound, he pressed up against the side of my leg, his head on my arm. I held him the rest of the way home, driving with one hand.

I knew we had to find a way that the cat could go outside but wouldn't leave the yard. Shadow was smart, almost human, but he didn't get the concept of staying in the yard. The job became leashing a cat. A collar wouldn't work because if he climbed and became caught, he could strangle. I bought the largest cat harness the store had and two long leashes that could be hooked together. Bringing them home, I put the harness on the cat. Let's revise that last statement; I tried to put the harness on the cat. It was too small. I kept the leashes and returned the harness.

The next day, I gathered Shadow in my arms, and we drove to a local pet store. I carried him into the shop, where we looked at harnesses in the dog department. I took the cat and one harness over to a counter. I sat Shadow on the top while I readied the harness.

"You're just going to leave the cat there without any restraint?" one of the clerks asked.

"Sure. He won't move until I tell him he can," I answered as I slipped the harness on the calm, miniature panther.

The cat sniffed the harness before yowling softly. He then lay down to clean his paws as I paid for the harness, one for a medium sized dog.

I gave Shadow a few days to become used to his harness before attaching the leash, first just one as I held the other end. He didn't like coming to the end of the leash confused him at first, but after a few "lessons," he learned that the leash limited his activity space. We would have a time on the leash three times a day for thirty minutes.

After a week of times on the one leash in the house, I snapped both leashes together and one end on Shadow's harness. We went to the front yard for fifteen minutes to start the next step in preparing the cat for "leash life." Each day we lengthened the time outside until we stayed for an hour. The next day, I connected one end of the connected leashes to a post and left Shadow by himself. He did well for the two hours I left him on his own. The next outing was in the back yard. On a Saturday morning, when I could be home, I placed him on the leash in the backyard, and I left him while I did housework. I checked him periodically through the window, but everything appeared fine. Then one time I looked out and couldn't see Shadow. I hurried to the back yard to find him hanging from the top of the fence. He never tried to go over a fence while hooked to the leash again. I was glad I hadn't tried a collar around his neck.

Leashing a cat is possible, rewarding, and successful for both cat and owner if certain steps are taken:

1. Use a harness that fits the cat snugly but not too tightly.

2. Allow the cat to become familiar and comfortable wearing the harness.

3. Start lessons with a single leash hooked to the harness and the other end in your hand while you and the cat are in the house. Begin with fifteen minutes and lengthen time up to thirty minutes.

4. When the cat appears comfortable with the leash being used in the house, add the other leash to the end of the first and move outside. Stay with the cat each trip to the yard until he is comfortable.

5. Once the cat is left outside alone on the leash, check periodically to be sure he hasn't gotten into trouble.

6. Never leave a cat on a leash outside if no one will be home to check on him.

After Shadow was leash-broken, we could take him anywhere with us, including trips, and not worry about him. Travel became much easier for him and us.

Shadow also never spent any more time in a cage.

Vivian Gilbert Zabel taught composition for twenty-five years. Her portfolo is http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel. Her books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth, can be found through Barnes and Noble or This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.

A Kitten's Life

I would consider myself to be a lover of all animals, but I would definitely classify myself as a cat person. I'm sure this stems from the fact that my childhood pet was a cat that lived a long and loving 17 years. It just seemed natural that I would look towards the felines once I was ready to have pets of my own in adulthood.

After college, I moved in to a large two-story house with three other friends. One of the guys brought along his two furry ones that I had come to know and love: Göst, an all-white male Scottish Fold, and Cali, a female Calico. It was great having these four-legged critters sharing space with us, but they naturally gravitated towards their master's bedroom. Since we had so much space in our house, I decided to get a kitten of my own and introduced Betty (a female with tortoise shell coloring) to the mix. In a four-bedroom home, there was plenty of space for the elders to escape the psycho kitten when necessary, so Betty's assimilation into the household was (mostly) smooth sailing.

As with most roommate situations, there came a time for us to move on with our lives. Göst and Cali's owner was the first to depart, but the cats weren't going with him. He moved out with his girlfriend and claimed he could not have pets at his new place, but I knew that was just a cover-up story for his mate's desire not to have them. So, I gladly volunteered to take over kitty care, which wasn't that big a stretch since I did most of the cat maintenance in the first place.

Fast forward to the winter of 2005; Göst is 15-years-old, Cali 13-years old and Betty is 10-years old. They have moved three times with me and have become accustomed to one-bedroom apartments. Unfortunately, in February, Cali fell ill and passed away. I was saddened more than I ever imagined, but grateful to have the other two around to help ease the pain. As I was not looking forward to experiencing more loss, I decided I would just go forward with Ghost and Betty and not get a new kitten. That gameplan did not last for long.

In the days following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I saw the numerous news reports on the pets that were in need of rescue. Many of these scared animals were being brought to shelters near me in California, and the big softie in me inquired about adopting a kitty in need of a new home. The logistics of doing so proved to be not so simple, so I did the next best thing and decided to adopt a baby they already had in residence to make room for the incoming rescues.

I consulted my vet before moving forward with my plans, and she recommended I get a male since a female would drive Betty more nuts that she was already in store for. When I went to the shelter, I saw an orange tabby and it was love at first sight for both of us. He head-butted the glass partition when I took my first peek at him, and he rushed over and jumped onto my lap when I got to play with him in the private room. Done deal... the little fellow became known as Otis and it was time to bring him to his new home to meet his new siblings.

Needless to say, Göst and Betty were less than thrilled with the new addition, especially Betty since she was no longer "the baby." We live in tight quarters, so there are no second-story rooms for hiding and avoidance. Göst warmed up to Otis first, which may have been a move he has come to regret. Having another cat climbing all over you and chewing on various appendages may be fine when the other cat is a small kitten, but not so much after said kitten has tripled in size and captured the energetic spirit of a wild boar. Göst still has a little more time before he loses the size battle, but I can tell from his meows that he is getting frustrated with being tackled. I hate to hear him whine, but it's been fun to see this geriatric acting like a kid again.

The love-fest between Betty and Otis has been, and will continue to be, a slow work in progress. From day one, just the sight of Otis threw Betty into a literal hissy fit. They have progressed to the point where they can share the same space (like my bed) and the hissing has been reserved for when Otis channels his inner spaz and gets in her face. As much as I would like them to get along better, their banter has been good in that it has given Betty some much-needed exercise.

It's this same energetic spirit that keeps me up during the wee hours of the morning - Otis zips around the apartment, crashing into walls and furniture, and getting into everything in sight while trying to see how fast he can cover 700 square feet of space. I've gotten wiser with each passing day, and have developed rituals in attempt to avoid these nocturnal transgressions. We play fetch with his favorite toy about an hour before I plan to hit the sheets so that he is nice and tired and ready for bed at the same time I am nice and tired and ready for bed. I also put away all pens on my desk, elevate his toys, and empty my wastebasket of its contents. This doesn't work perfectly every night, and it's impossible to prevent the playful, meow-inducing attacks on Göst, but I have gotten a little more sleep.

When not observing cat behavior, Brian Kohlmeier is a co-founder of, which changes the way people exchange goods and services through the Internet. SwapThing [] is a site focused on building a strong swap community online. The ShareThing [] program helps non-profits get access to item & cash donations as well as volunteers and professional services. This article comes with reprint rights. You are free to reprint and distribute as you like. All that we ask is that you do not make any changes, that this resource text is included, and that the links above are intact.

Groom Your Cat To Avoid Hairballs - Kitty Will Love You For It

As loving cat owners we hate to think that our beloved pets are feeling unwell. That can be the first impression when your cat starts making hacking noises. Usually this is the first signs of the cat trying to get rid of a hairball.

If you see a blob of disgusting stuff on your floor, it is likely to be a hairball. Cats need to do this in order to remove hair from within their stomachs to keep them from getting sick.

What is it? It's a mass of hair and probably some food from the inside of a cat's body. When a cat grooms himself, he removes loose hair from throughout his body and it ends up in his stomach. Sometimes, the hair comes together and forms a ball in there. If he can not pass it, it is likely it won't break down but will come up instead.

Most cats have trouble with removing hairballs. If the cat can not get them up, it can get into the intestines and cause a blockage. This is life threatening to the pet. If your cat seems to be constipated it may be a sign of a blockage. If the cat is lethargic and his coat is dull and unhealthy looking, this too may be a sign. Watch that he eats as he normally does. If not, you should call and take him to see the vet who will then find out if it is a hairball and then he'll remove it.

You can prevent this type of problem yourself though. One of the best ways to do this is to groom the pet. The long haired cat need to be combed and brushed each day to remove excess hair. If you start to groom him when he is still young, he will learn to tolerate it. He may even look forward to being groomed. Some cats will bring their combs to their owners even. If he doesn't like to be groomed, use a grooming glove instead.

If the cat still seems to have trouble with hairballs, you can add dietary aids to his diet. One of these is a dry cat food that can help to prevent hairballs. Don't just buy the first bag of the formula that you find. Make sure it is still a good quality food for your pet, one that is high in protein and other nutrients. If your cat has a hairball, you can shop for the gel that can be added to the food which will help the hairball to pass. Make sure to talk to your vet before using one of these hairball remedies for long periods of time though.

You can try some of the more natural remedies as well but you should insure they are okay with your vet first. Some will actually cause your pet discomfort or will remove important nutrients from his body. These include such things as pumpkin, mineral oils and even butter. If your cat continues to have trouble with hairballs, talk to your vet about what you should do to improve this.

Cat owners. Frustrated at cleaning up hairballs? We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to clean up after cats. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house and it doesn't scare the cats. More details at

How Fast Will Your Cat Grow - The Important Stages In A Cat's Life

Just like having a child, it can be incredibly fulfilling bringing a kitten into your family and watching it grow up. It takes only a year for your cute little kitten to mature into a cat. It can seem hard to believe but it will happen fast. Being prepared is the goal here. So what are the key milestones for a young cat?

The First Moments

Kittens are born blind and they are completely dependent on their mother. The first stages will involve learning to eat and then growing. The kitten's eyes will open and he will want to explore. At four weeks old, he is romping around shakily with his siblings. At this time he can begin to learn to use the litter box and should start to become a social animal. In the wild, the kitten's mother will start to supplement his diet with dead mice and other small pretty. But, you may want to give him some soft kitten food or some dry food that is softened a little with water.

Six Weeks

He's now six weeks old and he is more than ready to explore the home. If he's indoors, he will move from room to room. A feral kitten will follow his mother when she goes to hang out with the other cats. These cats will still receive mice from their mother, but they aren't dead anymore. Instead, the kitten has to learn to hunt the animal. Those who are eight weeks old will be completely weaned from their mother and are ready to go to a new home.

The Next Months

Through the next several months, the cats will grow really fast. You'll need to get them in to be vaccinated at this time so that they are healthy and strong. They will begin to learn what they have to do to live with their families and learn which behaviors are okay. You can teach your kitten his name as well as a few simple commands now. If the cat has long hair, make sure to get him used to allowing you to groom him, although the cat's coat doesn't need to be brushed just yet.

Sometimes, cats will suddenly develop a bad attitude. Believe it or not this is an adolescent stage for them. This happens when the cat goes from being a kitten into being a mature cat. Sounds just like children, right? This will happen around the fifth to six month and may last until the cat reaches a year old. They will still be playful but may get carried away to play too aggressively. If your cat is not neutered at six months of age, he will be mature enough to reproduce now. Neutering the cat will help this stage of his development go more smoothly. At six months, the cat looks the way he will look as an adult even though he may still become larger.


Just like humans, adult cats will continue to go through stages. But, these stages can be dealt with quite easily. And, unlike that mid life crisis you may have, the cat isn't likely to go out to purchase a sports car at this age!

If you take care of your kitten's health as he grows into an adult cat you will have a fulfilling relationship that will bring both you and the cat great satisfaction.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

My Own Cat Timer

I should never have stayed up late Friday night. On Saturday morning I started work an hour earlier than the rest of the week. When seven o'clock rolled around, I hit what I thought was the sleep button, allowing me ten more minutes of slumber, but instead hit the off button. An hour later I was violently awakened by four stiff legs of crazy cat being jabbed into my chest. Schatzie, our door-opening cat must have tried to wake me with meows but, having no success, jumped five feet into the air, landing on my chest with all the force of her fifteen pounds of cat.

I later read that cats in the wild use this attack mode to flush out small animals from their underground burrows. Another time my wife said she had to get something at the store and would I listen for the timer bell in the kitchen and take the cake out of the oven. I said I would, she left, and five minutes later I fell asleep while watching television. Suddenly a cat seemed to drop out of the sky, landing square on my chest with her stiffened legs. Immediately, I smelled cake and raced into the kitchen to save it. Just a little scorched around the edges, some judicious trimming was easily hidden under the icing. But how did Schatzie know that the timer was for me and how did she know that I would be late for work? I think that any disruption of the standard routine is reason enough for her to get our attention. Thank God she was a nosy cat.

Retired portrait photographer. A small, gray cat called Sassy owns me.

How To Stop Your Cat Scratching - Get Rid Of Those Fleas

You know how annoying it can be when you have an itch, but you can't reach it to give it a scratch? Well, when your cat has fleas it's like your problem, just multiplied a hundred times.

If your cat has fleas or ticks, you need to take action. If they are scratching or have irritated skin, your cats need you to bring this problem under control because it can become a much larger problem if you do not.

Even clean cats can end up with fleas. All it takes is a stray animal to come close enough to the cat. Or, the cat can pick them up outdoors as well. Even just one flea can leave many eggs and cause a full scale attack on your pet.

To stop them before they start, you can use a product such as Frontline or Advantage. These are pre measured liquid treatments that are applied directly to the cat's skin and coat. When fleas get onto the pet, these products kill them before they can lay eggs. Those who want preventative measures for keeping the cat safe should use these.

For most though, it takes seeing the fleas to get them to start fighting them. If you see tiny black or brown insects on your animal, these are no doubt that your cat is flea infested. If you do see them, realize that the problem is already a big problem.

What you need to do is make sure to check your pet for fleas all the time. You can do this with a flea comb. Carefully comb through the cat's hair and pay attention to the hair around the cat's head and his belly. These are the ideal places for fleas to hide including the ears, eyes and the nose. And, they like to burrow in the creases where the cat's legs and body meet.

When combing your pet, if you find a flea you know they are throughout his body. But, if you end up with a few black or brown specks, this too is a sign that they are hiding somewhere on the pet's body.

To find them, run your hands over the cat's body. Look for raised spots on him. If you find one or more, check it closely to see if it has little legs. If so the cat has ticks. You'll need to ask your vet about having the tick removed as you can not do this yourself without risking the tick's head staying behind in your pet's skin.

In order to get them under control, you'll need to use one of the liquid flea and tick treatments. You can also use flea or tick collars and baths as well. If the fleas are in your house, as they probably are, then you will need to use a powder or spray for the bedding and upholstered furniture too. As a last resort, you can use a flea and tick bomb in your home. But, in this case, the animals will need to stay out of your home for at least 24 hours.

Fleas are a serious concern and you need to keep them from affecting your pet. If your pet has them, also talk to your vet about treatments he can provide as these are professional strengths that can help. Before they make your pet sick, take measures at the first sign of trouble.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

Help Keep The Pet Population Under Control, And Your Cat Healthy - Neuter Your Kitten

If you, or a family member, received a kitten as a Christmas present there are many things you need to think about.

It is essential that you take the time to really consider whether or not you should neuter your cat. Because there are so many strays and so few homes for them, it is wise to really take the time to make sure that if you are going to keep your pet natural that you should keep him from reproducing.

Many of the feral cats out there are those that pet owners released simply because they could no longer care for them. A colony of them can easily spread diseases to pet cats and even dogs. Even when they are healthy they are often infested with fleas. Females that are in heat the colony of cats can cause quite a disturbance with all the crying and even fighting. Cats that are hungry can get into trash cans, ruin furniture on your patio and dig in soil in your flower beds.

Cats in heat often cause a lot of trouble and noise. Neutering or spraying cats can help to prevent many things including this. Female house cat in heat can pitifully mew at the door and then cats throughout the neighborhood will soon chime in. Cats that are not neutered have a tendency to ram far from home and they are likely to spray everything in their path.

These cats are also likely to get certain types of cancers as well. The cancers of the reproductive organs are very rare in cats that have been fixed. Unaltered cats can also develop several contagious reproductive diseases.

But, if you do have your cat altered, there are some down notes to take note of. For example, cats that are altered can compete in the show ring but even if he wins the championship he can not reproduce for you.

The humane society will alter kittens as young as eight weeks of age. Most vets will agree that it is healthier to do this to kittens at five to six months, though. If they are feral kittens how are trapped to be altered and then released back they can be done earlier.

Female kittens have a harder time with neutering than males do. Males can handle it at a younger age, then and you can wait until they are six months old to neuter your females.

Most cats have no problems with neutering but sometimes they can develop an infection for the incision. It is important to check the cat daily to insure that it is doing well with it. If the cat licks and chews at the stitches you'll need to have the vet put on a surgery collar to keep the cat from reaching them. Female cats need to be confined indoors for up to five days after having the surgery.

Neutering your cat can keep the pet population under control. It will not necessary do anything to the cat's temperament and it will not be a cruel event to the animal. It can be the responsible thing to do.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

What is a Cat Whisperer?

Similar to a horse or dog whisperer, a Cat Whisperer is a person who relates particularly well with cats. A Cat Whisperer has unusual luck and success with cats. Often people bring cats or a single cat will just "show up" at their home. This cat will adopt the whisperer.

For myself, I've had Persians and black cats mostly, show up and move in. Sometimes, the cat's people moved and abandoned the cat. Other times, the cat just decided it liked it better at my house.

Some say that a Cat Whisperer is a cat therapist, but in truth, most Cat Whisperers are good cat behaviorist. Most Cat Whisperers have never had any formal training, and come by it naturally. They understand a cat's way of thinking and work with its existing behaviors to achieve the desired results.

Some cats that have been abused will only respond to a Cat Whisperer. Other people may try to help the cat and only see a scared cat with a long memory of abuse and hurt. These cats often tragically end up in kill shelters. It is tragic because the cats have already endured so much. Many of these poor cats were once loved and coddled pets. They were abandoned, mistreated by children or cruel adults, terrorized by dogs and possibly even tortured.

When a cat is this badly damaged emotionally and physically, it takes great patience and care to bring the poor cat back to some semblance of normalcy around people.

Morgen Marshall, a cat lover and trainer, invites you into her world of cats. She created a website dedicated to making the relationship between cats and people harmonious and healthy, For the Love of Cats. It is a place for people facing difficulties in their relationships with cats to come and find the answers they need from someone they can trust.

Abused Cats

Abused cats can be terribly maimed and damaged on the outside. They can even appear quite normal on the outside and all the damage might be emotional.

The emotional damage is harder to repair. A physically damaged cat will still respond positively to a soft voice and touch. They seem to know that the abuse will not continue anymore.

With an emotionally abused cat, you will need to let the cat come to you. Feed and care for it conscientiously. If you have another, more loving cat, the example to the abused cat will be good for it and will serve to draw the cat out.

Screaming, yelling, startling, and indiscriminate use of disciplinary tools, such as a water pistol can cause emotional damaged. Prolonged exposure to this treatment produces a cat that is slow to trust. The cat may turn mean or become lethargic.

If the cat becomes mean, it is actually a good sign. A lethargic cat is harder to reach. The angry cat still cares what happens to it, while the lethargic cat could care less.

The lethargic cat will not play, respond to treats, pats, or a soft voice. Your best bet with the lethargic cat is a companion cat to draw the poor thing out. Eventually, the damaged kitty will ask for a pat or scratch while you are most vulnerable - usually lying in bed or on the toilet. Give confident, gentle snuggling and use a soft voice. Do not make too much of a fuss - but let the cat know you like the new behavior. Move slowly because the cat is still quite traumatized. Once this behavior begins, you are well on your way to a friendly, but still stand-off-ish house cat. It may take a long time, and consistency is the key. Never raise your voice around the cat. It will run. Every instance of veterinary care will be traumatic to it. Try to minimize visits and combine the purposes. Your cat will hide after each visit for as long as it feels upset. Continue to speak softly and care for the cat. It will come out and be friendly eventually. This type of cat has the longest memory for past hurts. If you take on a cat like this, be prepared for a long, intensive period of healing.

The angry or mean cat will run away, fight and scratch. Consistent, gentle treatment and a soft voice are your best bets. If you tame the cat as if it were Feral, you will have the best results. Never trick the cat into a situation where it feels trapped. It will instantly revert.

Black cats face a serious risk around Halloween. Never leave the cat unattended outside during this time of year. It seems that all the sickos in the world come looking for black cats at this time of year. The unsuspecting and trusting pet black cat may be cat-napped and tortured or killed.

Morgen Marshall, a cat lover and trainer, invites you into her world of cats. She created a website dedicated to making the relationship between cats and people harmonious and healthy, For the Love of Cats. It is a place for people facing difficulties in their relationships with cats to come and find the answers they need from someone they can trust.

It Is Possible To Give Your Cat A Bath, And Come Away Scratch Free

Although your cat doesn't realise it right now, after some tender loving care and a little shampoo, he will appreciate it.

Cats hate water, that much is easy to see as he lashes out at you with his claws when he gets anywhere near it. Why would someone want to bathe their cat, then?

Well, they are dirty and can become flea infested just like a dog, so they do need them. Sometimes, you'll just have to do it. The key is to not bathe your cat more than once a month as you will damage his skin and his hair if you do so more than that. And, you can do it.

The Supplies

To do the task, you'll need some supplies. The very least you will need are two cloth towels, a pet safe shampoo and conditioner, a sponge and a sprayer to attach to your skin nozzle. No sprayer? Then use a pitcher of water and keep it near the sink. You should try to have a non skid mat there as well to help your cat feel better about standing in the water.

A scared cat is hard to control. So, if you plan to wash him in the tub, make sure to shut the door to keep him from getting out into the rest of the house.

What To Do

Put the mat at the bottom of the sink or tub. Add about two or three inches of warm water to the bottom and carefully place the cat in. Talk to him quietly and reassure him that he's okay. More than likely, he'll settle down within a few minutes. Now that he's calm, you can wet him down. Use the sprayer but if this scares him, you'll need to pour water over him using the pitcher. A word of warning, do not pour water on his head. You'll clean his face later.

Now he's wet. You can squeeze a palm sized amount of shampoo and massage the shampoo into his coat. Use slow, calm motions and he'll relax and maybe even will enjoy it. Once he is lathered, you'll need to rinse him off. Make sure to get all of the shampoo out of his coat as anything left on him will irritate his skin.

Next, do the same with the cat's conditioner. This step is optional if the cat has short hair. If the cat isn't too upset, though, you should try to use it on all cats.

Once his body is clean, it is time to do his face. Dampen the sponge and use it to carefully wipe down his face. Pay attention to the area around his eyes too.

After The Bath

Now, he's done. Wrap him up in the towels and blot off as much of the water as possible from his body. Use a dry towel as a second blotting tool. Now, he'll finish the job himself. For those who have a long haired cat, you can use a blow dryer at the very lowest setting if you keep it continuously moving so that you do not burn him. Now, you have a clean cat and hopefully no wound marks to show from it.

Your cat will thank you for his bath, and you will both enjoy each other's company more, next time you snuggle down in front of the fire.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house walking our dogs. More details at

At Last! Cat Litter Boxes Don't Have To Be Evil

There is nothing worse for cat or cat owner than a smelly litter box.

For many people, the litter box is the worst of part of owning a cat. Not only is it something people dread to clean but it is also dusty and dirty. And, those who have to clean it can find themselves more susceptible to cat diseases that are present there. Sure, it's a bad job but it doesn't have to be too hard either.

There are many new litter boxes being designed to make the job, well, easier. One of them is the hooded litter box. These give the privacy to cats who are more sensitive and they also keep dust down considerably. They are idea of a single cat owner as long as they are cleaned regularly. Those who do not want to handle the litter can use removable liners for these boxes. They can lift out the whole liner and throw it out. All you need to do is put in a new liner and add the fresh litter to it.

Self Cleaning Boxes

Another option is the self cleaning box. These are idea for families that have many cats. Or they can be a good choice for anyone who doesn't want to have to deal with it. A rake removes the soiled litter into a removable receptacle which leaves the box clean. All you need to do is to discard the contents of the receptacle right into the trash.

To teach your kitten to use the litter box, all you need to do is to position it in the right place and keep it very clean. The litter box should never be located next to wear the cat sleeps or near where his food is.

Once in the right place, you'll need to tell him what the box is used for. To do this, place the cat in the box and rake your fingers through the litter. The cat may decide to start using the box right away. When he does, praise him greatly. If he just wants out, play with him a few minutes and then put him back in. Repeat this several times but don't push it. You don't want to make him frustrated.

When to use the Box?

About ten to fifteen minutes after your cat eats, put him back into the litter box. When he uses it, praise him for doing so. When he is napping, watch him so that you can take him to the litter box as he wakes up.

Remember that cats respond better to praise than to scolding. If he becomes angry or frustrated, you will not accomplish anything. Place the box in the spot where he most frequently has accidents and encourage him to use it.

A cat may stop using his litter box if you don't keep it clean. Most cats will continue to use the litter box once he has done so several times, but you need to keep it clean. Also, a dirty litter box can lead to cat health problems so make sure to keep it clean.

These are some quick and easy tips to keeping your cat's litter box clean. If you use them your cat will be your best friend.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

If You Seriously Want Your Cat To Be Happy and Healthy, You Must Help With Grooming

Although your cat may take the time to clean himself through licking his paws and face, he does still need you. Cats don't want to be dirty and they need you to help them stay clean.

Grooming your cat has to happen. You need to do it to remove the loose hair on the cat.


Brushing your cat's hair will keep it from ending up in his stomach. It is not easy to digest and often the cat can only get rid of it through hairballs. If they can not spit them up, they are likely to clog the intestinal tract. Grooming can also remove dirt and debris from the coat. It can help you to check for fleas and ticks too.

Many cats do not hate to be groomed. It is much easier to become accustomed to it if you start when he is still a kitten. Gently brush or comb over the coat, following the fur from the neck to the tail. If he becomes annoyed with you, stop and play with him for a few minutes. When he is relaxed again, go back to it. Don't groom the face or paws with the brush though.

Those who do not like to be brushed can still be groomed with a different tool for example the grooming glove. When your cat is in a good mood, the kitty will not mind the massage. The glove is working to remove the hairs and the debris from the cat though. Most cats won't even mind if you do this to their face either.

Lastly, if you have a cat that has longer hair, take the time to insure he is brushed. Those who are not will end up with matted hair. To remove matted hair, the animal is likely to need to be sedated and shaved. This is an awful experience for him so insure that you keep his coat clean and brushed thoroughly instead.

Check Eyes, Ears, Claws and Teeth, too

When you do brush him, make sure to check his eyes and his ears too. They should be clear and bright without anything in the corners. The ears should be clean and pink. Dirt that gets into the ears can be a sign of ear mites. These can cause the ears to shrivel up and your cat to lose his ability to hear. Make sure to bring this to your vets attention.

If your cat has not been declawed, you'll need to remove the hooks on the ends of the claws. Not only will this ruin your clothing or upholstery, but it will also hurt your cat if he becomes snagged on something. The cat's teeth should be free from tartar buildup too. You'll need to keep them healthy by brushing them once a day with a finger tip brush and pet toothpaste.

If you follow these simple tips it will help your cat to be happy and healthy, and full of life.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

Can You Really Train A Cat? Is It Worth The Trouble?

Cats are notoriously independent and have a mind of their own. Can you really teach a cat new tricks?

Cat owners often think that their cat is just too moody to listen. Some owners feel their cats are un-trainable simply because they are arrogant. The fact is many times pets don't obey because they don't understand what you want from them. So, if you have tried to train your cat, you may not be doing it right.

Good Kitty

Training your cat takes time and patience. It takes more of that then it does with a dog. A sure fire way to get results is to use positive reinforcement. Whatever you do, don't scold your cat because she is likely to just misbehave when you aren't looking. Instead, praise good behavior.

Any cat can learn. It is wise to first start when the pet is young, about eight to ten weeks old. But, the pet will do well at any age.

To Get Started

How do you get started? The first thing to start with is training your cat to come when called. Hold your cat's favorite treat and call his name. You'll want to make sure he's in a good mood. You'll also want to make sure there isn't a lot of noise either. Distractions will slow down the cat or confuse him. Decide on one command and use it solely. The command should be short and easy to say. For example, come kitty works well or here kitty will work too.

Now, get down on her level by sitting or kneeling on the floor. Give the command. Make sure your voice is exciting and happy. When the cat comes to you, reward him with the treat. Also, insure that you praise the cat as well. Then, move away and do the same thing again. The goal is to use the same tone of voice and the same command. Work on it for no more than ten minutes. If the cat is bored or frustrated, stop for the time. Try to do this two or three times a day for about a week. Once he gets this command, you can move on to others.

Some things that your cat needs to learn for his own well being are necessary to teach any and all cats. For example, he needs to learn to tolerate a harness and a leash in case you need to travel with him. Also, the cat should learn to use a crate.

Using a Leash and Harness

To do this, you'll want to start by putting the harness on him. Do not restrain him once it is in place. Praise him for it. Give him a treat for behaving so well. Once he is used to wearing it, attach the leash to it and let him lead you throughout the area. Coax him into following you with treats and praise. Some cats will learn to heel on the leash. But, most will not. All should learn to not panic or to struggle, though when wearing a leash.

The Crate

When it comes to the crate, it can be done a little simpler. Cats like warm dark places so put a comfortable blanket and maybe even a favorite toy of the cat's inside the crate. Give him praise when you place him in it. Then, leave him there for a few minutes. Let him out within three to five minutes. Don't praise him when he's coming out of the crate because you do not want him to think this is the good thing. Make sure to reward him, though whenever he goes in. Leave the cat in the crate a little longer each time. Eventually your cat will be trained well enough to keep him in there.

I hope these simple tips will show you how useful it can be to give your cat a little discipline.

Cat owners. We recently discovered a robot vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge time saver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

How To Stop Your Cat Scratching And Ruining Your Furniture

It's natural for cats to scratch but often it destroys your good furniture. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to relieve the problem.

Many people watch in sadness as their cat destroys virtually everything that he can get his claws into. You can improve this behavior. To do so, you need to know why he is doing what he is doing.

Cats were hunters. They needed those sharp teeth to help them to climb trees and to leap down on their prey. Although your cat is not likely to be pouncing on their dinner anymore, they still instinctively need to sharpen their claws and that is exactly what they are doing on your furniture. The scratching that they do is a way of trimming their nails and it removes the old outer part of the claws. Another reason they are ruining your home is because they know it to be their territory. They release a scent from special glands in their paws which helps them mark the area as theirs. They also do it because they are working the kinks out of their body as well as burning some energy.

Before you head off to have him de clawed, you may want to try out some of the alternative methods of preventing the scratching.

One way is to provide them with scratching pads or posts. There are a wide variety of them available including those that are part of a cat condo. You can even make your own by using two foot high section of a four by four, two foot by two foot piece of heavy plywood and a carpet remnant. When you have one of these, take it and put it right next to his favorite piece of furniture to destroy. Then, gradually move it away from the furniture as he gets accustomed to it.

You can also use a pet repellant spray such as Bitter Apple on the furniture that the pet is clawing at. Take the time to test the spray on a non visible area of the furniture before using it though. Or if you do not want to spray the furniture, then cover the material with aluminum foil or tape that is placed sticky side up. The cat will not like the material and will turn to the scratching post instead.

Some cats just can't seem to stop. For these, de-clawing becomes the best option. If your cat stays indoors, you can have their claws removed. There are some risks involved and the procedure can be painful for him. Those who would like to avoid this like to use nail caps instead. These are applied as false nails would be to the cat's nail.

If your cat is a scratcher, do what you can to stop him before you have him de-clawed. If this becomes the best option though, it may be better than having your furniture torn up!

I hope that some of these simple tips help you save your furniture from cat attack without stopping you cat from enjoying life.

Niall Kennedy is a lifelong pet lover and has worked in several pet sanctuaries. Best Pet Health Information [] is a resource that brings you information and news, tips and reviews to help you keep your cat happy and healthy. []

Copyright All rights reserved. This article may be reprinted in full so long as the resource box and the live links are included intact.

Where Does Your Cat Nap? Make Him As Comfortable As Possible

Giving your pet his own snoozing area gives you the ability to take back all of the space in your house that he has taken over. You may even want to give him several places to call his own to keep him happy!

You'll find a cat bed that fits your tastes, and your pets, because there are so many out there to choose from. You'll find a colorful cat bed in fun pet prints that will add a touch of whimsy to the room you put it in. You'll find designer brands to choose from as well. You can also choose based on how the bed feels too.

Many cat beds have a pillows made of fleece to keep them warm. They are oval shaped and have high sides or they may be completely enclosed. Cats like to find a secure, warm spot to rest. For many, getting into the tight warm couch cushion seems like the ideal place.

You will find that some beds you can choose from are heated as well. If the cat spends time on the porch or in other chilly areas, you may want to give him one of these heated beds to warm up with.

Have you purchased a great bed for your cat but he's ignoring it? Don't be surprised at this. If he just doesn't seem interested, add a catnip toy to the bed to attract him to it. Make sure that you place it in a cat friendly location too which will help to make it appealing to him. Cats don't want to nap in low places so you may want to put the bed on an end table or platform that is just a bit off the ground. You'll need to keep it from being in the midst of heavy people traffic as well. He needs to be able to relax and sleep there or he won't want to be there.

Does your cat shed? Place the nap mat where your cat normally sleeps and then store it when you have guests. The cushions that are under the mat will then be hair free.

Some pets enjoy a perch. These are padded shelves that have become very popular. You can attach the cat perch to your windowsill so that the cat can look out the window at the birds or just bathe in the sun.

More than one cat can means more than one bed as cats are territorial and don't like sharing their beds. You may be able to look for a kitty version of a play gym or a cat condo. These allow several cats to nap in elevated spots. And, the cat condo has areas where they can climb and sharpen claws.

If your cat likes to nap on your couch cushions, giving him a bed is the ideal way to make him comfortable and provide him with a place other than your furniture to nap on!

Cat owners. We recently discovered a vacuum cleaner that is specially designed to pick up cat hair. It's a huge timesaver and cleans while we are out of the house. More details at

Cat Chat

Through the years we have raised lots of cats. Their main value is

the fact that they accept your love without giving up their own

personality. Many a sour mood has been transformed into a happier

one in the presence of a cat.

Once we had three cats at one time. Sassy was the loner, a one

person cat, and that person was my 11 year old daughter, Yvonne. It

didn't matter that we were the ones who fed her, let her in at

night, and petted her. Sassy always made a bee line for Yvonne,

slept on her bed all night and took any and all kinds of abuse

(friendly) to be with her. Yvonne had a habit of flinging herself to

the other side when sleeping. It was a funny sight to see Sassy

flying through the air, claws gripping the blanket as Yvonne flipped


Mocha boasted of being half Siamese. She was on the small side and

would stay in my lap forever, keeping me company all evening. She

was not too smart, but clean to fault. except for a case of bad

breath. I was often teased that she picked me to like.

Gypsy, a tricolor 'lucky' cat was the good-matured slob. She ate too

much, liked to spend her days in the street, never cleaned herself,

and purred so loudly we had to throw her out of our bedroom so we

could sleep. One day Gypsy was eating (she always had to be first),

when Mocha sauntered by, suddenly veering toward Gypsy's rear end. A

good sniff with opened mouth and a facial sneer confirmed what we

already knew, that Gypsy didn't smell too good. Before Mocha left in

disgust, she gave Gypsy a healthy swat on the behind, getting an

angry hiss in return. Our efforts a giving Gypsy a bath had to be

done quickly without giving her a clue as to what would happen. Even

so, many a hall wallpaper was sprayed in the race to the bathtub.

One year, a four foot snowstorm covered the house and patio from

roof to ground with fifteen foot drifts. We were extremely worried

when after three days, none of our beloved cats came home. The food

we set out was untouched and not a meow answered our calls. On the

fifth day, while gazing at the unbroken expanse of white, a black

paw emerged from a drift near the house. All three cats were safe

although slightly emaciated.

After these gems passed away, we acquired a big-eyed tiger named

Shatzie (Little treasure in German). She was the smartest cat of

all, very independent, but loving all the same. She so abhorred

walking on a leash that my efforts at walking her resulted in a

sideways cat sliding on the grass. She always wanted to be with us

in the room and hated to be by herself. If we ever tried to close

the door to keep her out, she would simply jump up, turn the knob,

and let herself in. She could perform this feat even if the door

opened in!

Now we have SassyII, a wonderful cat who attached herself to my

wife, Marianne. Sassy follows her around all day, helping with the

laundry, cleaning, etc. When Marianne is sleeping, Sassy is by the

side of her second choice with one ear bent toward the computer

keys. The only bad habit she has is biting. These are love bites

while playing, but they can hurt! Someday I'm gonna bite her back.

Retired in New Jersey with our cat, Sassy.