Channel Todd Late Night News Edition

State of Emergency: Empty
My food bowl is almost empty, my food bowl is almost empty!!!!!

empty food bowl

BeFunky_toddlebees.jpg

May I serve you?

Top Story in Business: Fine Dining
At the Longcroft Luxury Cat Motel in England, they have a fine dining restaurant for us finicky felines. They serve Salmon, Fresh Cod Steak, and Simply King Prawns, just to name a few of their menu items. They also have a Sunday Brunch that includes ham, free-range chicken and shrimp. While I must travel to Britain just to stay at this wondrous hotel, fine dining for cats isn’t left to just vacation time anymore. There’s a new trend out there to buy and feed cats (and dogs) gourmet meals. People all over the country are seeking out better foods for their pets, such as organic, all-natural, made in the US, and human-grade foods (and what do you mean you haven’t been feeding us human-grade foods this whole time). Humans will pay big bucks for these types of foods, as well, even while those same humans will resort to eating take-out, fast food, or pizza … again!

Add to that, that even us finicky cats – and yes, we are very finicky eaters, so keep on buying us that expensive food – even have our own restaurants that cater just to us (out with those human-only restaurants, in with the cat-only restaurants). One of the cat-only restaurants is called Duncan’s Fine Dining where they serve items such as Toona Tortellini, Fresh Nip Salad, and Pouncie Bread Man. finewineYou can even top it off with a fine wine such as the ’95 Chateau Domainecoon Majeur.

Furthermore, there are even celebrity chefs cooking for cats now, such as the famous Simon Rimmer. He’s a wonderful guy, working with top-notch veterinarians to cook up some fancy food that’s not only super tasty, but good for our sensitive digestive systems. As a bonus, I’ve included the video below where you can watch the wonderful Mr. Simon Rimmer cook up a tasty, gourmet dinner for  cats. So please watch, enjoy, and cook on, humans. Cook on! 

Top Story in Style: Cat-Fashionable Humans

fashionWe love this shirt. Sleek, colorful and fashionably fitted, it can look good on a number of different body types or in any type of laundry basket (our favorite place for shirts are those laundry baskets that have just been loaded up from a nice, warm dryer). This top is called the Festival Cats Top and can be found on the Animal Rescue site for the low price of $28.95. Us cats will enjoy seeing you humans in this shirt as much as you’ll enjoy wearing it.

Top Story in Health: How Cats can Benefit Humans
Check this out! Cats can help heal humans. While that comes as no surprise to us kitties, you humans may not know all of this. So, as the flu season winds down, remember to keep us kitties nearby to help keep you healthy and happy!
catfacts

Now for your commercial break
 

Top Story in Entertainment: Comic Break
It’s snowy out there … at least in some parts of the country (ok, maybe all parts of the country except California). So let this comic warm you up.
comic

Top Story in Sports: Kitten Bowl vs. Puppy Bowl
We’re excited for February 2nd. It’s going to be a big game out there. We’re pulling for our favorite team to win – The Great and Mighty Kittens!!!! Yay. Who’s going to help me root them on?? Everyone??? Ok!!! Game night, big party at my house. Don’t forget to bring your own catnip, milk and tuna. If you bring extra for me and the boys, we’ll give you a front row seat during game time!


Top Story in Opinion: I used to be a Fire Hazard
BeFunky_todders.jpgI used to live in a studio apartment in Alameda, Ca. It was on the top floor of a secure, 3-story building that had been built in the 1920s. It was a fabulous apartment, mostly because I knew how to get the door open as long as it wasn’t locked. Eventually, I even figured out how to undo the lock, so mom started using the chain when she was home, always worrying that I’d still be able to get the door open enough to squeak out. So, she started placing piles of stuff in front of the door, thinking I’d never be able to get the door open. And it worked.

But when she was gone, at work, I’d still work at getting that door open. One day, mom came home to find the door ajar, thinking that somehow, someone had gotten into the building and broken into the apartment. When I came running up the stairs after her to welcome her home, she frowned at me, but was whole-heartedly relieved to know we hadn’t actually been robbed. And then told me that under no circumstance was I supposed to open the door for strangers. So when she locked herself out of the building a month later, I refused to let her in, telling her there was no way I could have known it was her. Payback’s an empty food bowl, mom!

Thank you for reading! Have a good night!

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Emergency Services

cat freaking outHave you ever thought about what you’d do if there were a disaster in your area? Say a tornado, fire, earthquake or tsunami? I live in California near the coast, so we often worry about earthquakes and possible tsunamis from those earthquakes. We also have fires in California and sometimes those get closer to home than my mom would like (her lungs have been irritated by 2 fires here in Southern California since we moved her almost 2 years ago), so we worry about those, also. And have you ever wondered what kind of emergency kit you should have for your cat? Well, I have some suggestions for you! There are some important things you will need to have on hand, some of which can probably be kept in the trunk of your car (like a bag of cat litter … I hear that’s even useful in winter time if your stroller – er, I mean car – gets stuck in the snow). Other things you’ll want to keep inside in one easily accessible spot (like maybe inside, on top of, or next to the cat carrier). My stroller has a trunk underneath it, and mom’s thinking that’s a good spot to keep my supplies in. I tell her it’ll make my gas mileage go down, but she doesn’t pay attention.

skAnyway, the basic things you definitely need to have in your cat emergency kit are (p.s. if you’re a dog owner, you can find a dog emergency kit checklist here: http://www.redrover.org/disaster-supplies-dogs):

  • sleepypod-outsidersYour cat’s carrier, of course. Have a few pillow cases inside, as well. Pillow cases can be useful for carrying your cat around in if your kitty’s having a hard time. Sometimes, in emergencies, we kind of freak out, and pillow cases may be the best way to get us from a home to a car or some other safe location (because we might freak out even more if we see that carrier come out).
  • Litter box and litter or puppy pee pads (puppy pee pads are less messy than litter, but it might be worth your time to test one out in your cat’s litter box to make sure s/he will actually use it before you rely solely on those in an emergency situation – they’re definitely lighter and easier to store than litter). Also, there are a number of different types of things you can use for litter boxes. There are cheap temporary litter boxes that you can buy that come pre-filled with litter, but you’ll still want to have extra litter or puppy pee pads. There are also foldable litter boxes that are easily stored. You can also use aluminum roasting pans as litter boxes (they’re light-weight and easy to store, as well).

    foldable litterbox

    Foldable litter box

  • Waste bags, like dog waste bags, for used litter.
  • Enough dry cat food for one week. Check with your local emergency kit store such as a surplus store; some of them will vacuum pack the food your cat’s used to eating for a small fee. Keeping things as similar as possible during an emergency makes a big difference, so ensuring your kitty can eat the food s/he’s used to can make a big difference …. especially if your kitty is on a special diet. But make sure you rotate the food, so that you don’t find yourself in an emergency situation with overly expired kitty food your cat won’t and/or shouldn’t eat.
  • Enough canned food for one week. Make sure to also bring along a can opener. Sometimes those pop-top cans break and you won’t be able to get them open without a can opener. Also, some cats are fed just canned food, so for those kitties, you can skip the dry food supply, but I would recommend adding a few extra cans of cat food just for safety’s sake.
  • 1280px-Anheuser-Busch_canned_drinking_waterEnough water for one week. There are a bunch of options for water. You can buy bottled water and rotate them out to ensure they don’t expire. There are also water pouches you can buy at emergency stores (REI comes to mind for these types of water pouches, but you can find them online, too). There are also cans of water, like soda cans only with water that are supposed to have a 50 year shelf life. I know some people worry about the plastic water container thing, so these might be a good option.
  • Towels and/or some other form of bedding. Make sure the bedding isn’t too big or cumbersome, though. Remember, you want all of your supplies to fit in one storage bin or cat carrier. If you have more than that, you’re taking too much.
  • Any medications your cat may be taking along with labeled bottles and dosage information printed on the label.
  • Current copies of veterinary records along with vaccine information in a waterproof container like a Ziploc bag.
  • Phone numbers of your veterinarian, relatives and friends (I know you have those in your cell phone, but you should write them down on paper in case something happens to your cell phone). An additional phone number for you to write down is for the Animal Poison Control Center (they may charge money for the phone call, though): 888-426-4465.
  • cathotelA list of pet friendly hotels not only in your area but also outside of your area. Red Cross Emergency centers often can’t allow pets, so having a backup list of other places to go (like hotels, friends or relatives) can help you keep your kitties with you.
  • Have a flashlight with extra batteries and/or emergency glow sticks.
  • Instructions for the care of your cat in case you have to leave us with someone else in a pinch.

 

Some optional items might include:

  • cfaPet first aid book
  • Pet first aid kit (you can find these on the internet)
  • Toys. If you don’t have room for toys, you know us cats: an empty box, wadded up paper or an empty toilet paper roll work just fine, too. And you can usually find paper and/or empty toilet paper rolls anywhere (in terms of toilet paper rolls, you should have a roll of toilet paper in your own emergency kit, so you can even wad up a bit of toilet paper for us to play with).
  • Temporary ID tags in case our original one falls off
  • Additional ID tags with additional contact information in case something happens to your cell phone. You can use the phone number of a relative or friend, but be sure to check with them first to make sure they’re ok with being a backup contact person in case of emergency.

Boarding Facilities Outside the U.S.

Longcroft Hotel Autumn Suite

Longcroft Hotel Autumn Suite

I just ran across three cat boarding facilities … I mean Hotels … that look like great vacation spots. There’s the Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel in England, Pet inn ROYAL in Japan, and the Cat Utopia in Australia. They look like lovely places to stay! I’m ready to go. Now where’s my passport?

Holiday Travels with Your Cat, Part 4

I'm ready to go!

I’m ready to go!

Here’s the last part of my installment for travelling with cats …. or, in this case, without cats. Sometimes you humans can’t take us cats with you. Sometimes, us cats don’t want to or can’t go. That means leaving us behind. When you can’t take us with you for whatever reason, you have a few options.

First, there’s boarding facilities. You can find all sorts of different kind of boarding facilities from those that use cages, those that don’t use cages, those that house both dogs and cats, and those at Veterinary Hospitals. The good part about using a veterinary hospital is that if we should get sick, they’re more likely to spot it sooner and react quicker. The down side is that Veterinary Hospitals tend to be short on space, short on time, and tend to use cages. What’s wrong with cages, you ask? Just think of what it would be like for you to go to jail for the holidays. Not exactly you’re idea of a merry time!!! However, not all Veterinary Hospitals use cages, and there are more of them trying to make cat boarding as comfortable as possible for us cats. The Purr-fect Hotel at the Highland Veterinary Hospital in Highland, MD is a great example of a hospital that has some great space for boarding cats. I’d be pretty comfy there!

Standard Cat Boarding Cages

Standard Cat Boarding Cages

Additionally, for some interesting, strange, unidentifiable reason, most boarding facilities that use cages tend to have the cages facing each other (Veterinary Hospitals are typically the exception to this rule, but not always). So, what’s wrong with this, you ask? Well, I’m a social guy; I like other kitties. But if there’s a cat on the other side of the room staring me down because he hates other cats, it doesn’t exactly make my stay very comfortable. In fact, it stresses me out big time. And for that cat who doesn’t like other cats, being at a boarding facility that uses cages will be incredibly miserable for him, incredibly stressful, and make him more susceptible to illness (travel, which stresses us out, will always make us more susceptible to illness, but we’re talking about the difference between possibly getting a little cough to coming down with a full-blown cold). So, in your search for boarding facilities, try not to choose one that has cages …  and try not to pick that one that says it houses cats in cages in a cozy laundry room (I kid you not!). You may pay a little bit more for a cageless boarding facility, but generally the difference in cost is minor.

A view of Camp Kitty

A view of Camp Kitty

So what else should you look for? Try to stay away from boarding facilities that house both dogs and cats. There are cat-only boarding facilities out there. But if you can’t find one near you, try to choose a facility where the dog noise is comfortably muffled. Note: if there are dogs housed at the boarding facility, you won’t be able to get away from dog noise. Also ask to go on a tour of the facility. If they won’t let you, don’t board your cat there. And if there is more than a minimal smell of litter or food (similar to what you’d smell at home), don’t use that facility, either (do keep in mind that if they’ve just cleaned, which is typically done during the morning hours, there may be a stronger odor than if they’d cleaned hours ago). Also ask what veterinarian they use (if you’re not boarding at a Veterinary Hospital). If they don’t freely give you that information, go away. Also, if they don’t allow you to bring bedding, toys and food from home, they probably don’t understand how to make a cat as comfortable as possible (would you want to go somewhere that you weren’t allowed to bring your own clothes and had to wear someone else’s?). And do be sure to bring some comforts from home; it makes us feel a lot better! Know that most, if not all, boarding facilities require that your cat is current on vaccines. If your vet has recommended not giving anymore vaccines (which can happen, especially if the cat is older), talk with them about doing so for boarding purposes or if there are any other alternatives.

A really good example of a cat boarding facility is called Evergreen Cat Lodge in Evergreen, CO. You can house up to 3 cats in one suite for no extra charge (a lot of places do charge extra for more than one cat). The rooms look like little homes. And they don’t charge for little add-on services like nail clippings, administering medications, and ATTENTION!!! The only extra service charges, which is optional, that they appear to have are webcams that you can gain access to for $5 per day. And, let’s face it, that’s a really minimal charge for the pleasure of watching your cats nap all day!!! There’s also the Cat Taxi in the off-chance you can’t bring us yourself. The price of the cat taxi is similar to how an actual taxi works (they charge by mile with a $20 minimum charge).

Feline Wishes and Caviar Dreams

Feline Wishes and Caviar Dreams

Some other good examples of cat boarding facilities are Feline Wishes and Caviar Dreams in San Francisco, CA  and Camp Kitty in Scottsdale, GA. Please be aware that I’ve never been to a boarding facility, so I am not advertising for nor vouching for any of these places. I’m calling them good solely from what information I find online. It’s up to you to choose what you’re comfortable with.

However, in most cases, when you have to leave your kitty behind, using a pet sitter is typically the best option. We’ll be at home where we can hide in our usual spots, smell the usual smells, and not have to worry about going anywhere. How do you find a petsitter? First, find one who specializes in cats. It doesn’t have to be a cat-only pet sitter, but s/he should know cats well, appear comfortable around your cats, and have some good knowledge of cat behavior. Some pet sitters are insured, some are not. Which do you choose? Well, pet sitters that are insured are typically insured to cover mishaps, such as damage to the home (whether the sitter is in the home at the time or not) and sudden illnesses of your cats. What does this mean for you? A pet sitter who’s insured is covered during mishaps while an uninsured pet sitter must pay for mishaps out of their own pocket (and aren’t protected in case the client – you – decides to sue for a mishap). It’s up to you whether you choose an insured or uninsured pet sitter. In most cases, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

How do you get recommendations for pet sitters? You can ask your veterinarian, employees of an animal shelter, friends who have cats, or you can do a search online, like through Yelp or Craigslist. Make sure that you’re comfortable with whoever you choose … you are entrusting them with the keys to your home and your cats. Ask questions that are important to you. Maybe you want to know what kind of experience they have with cats, if they’ve ever medicated a cat, if they know how to work with shy cats, what to look for in sick cats, etc.

So, remember that we cats generally prefer to stay at home.

If we can’t stay at home (like we’re old or sick or….), take us to a good boarding facility like this:

Good Cat Boarding

Good Cat Boarding at Evergreen Cat Lodge

Lastly, remember that this is bad:

Bad Cat Boarding

Bad Cat Boarding

And this is even worse:

Not an actual boarding facility photo.

Not an actual boarding facility photo.

Holiday Travels with Your Cat, Part 3

So, part 3 is on hotels everyone. Aren’t you excited? I know I am!

S30A0066Finding pet-friendly hotels isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Because so many people take their pets with them, more hotels are now trying to accommodate them. That doesn’t mean that everywhere you go, you’ll be welcome with your kitty. And not all pet packages are equal. Take, for instance, the hotels that require you to keep your pet in a crate while you’re not in the room. Me? Or any cat? In a crate? No thank you! Us kitties would prefer you steer away from those types of hotels.

Then there are the hotels that offer pet beds for loan, engraved bowls, and gift baskets full of treats and toys. Now that’s the kind of service I’m talking about! Any good feline demands a high level of service! But alas, sometimes that’s not in the budget.

Additionally, some hotels charge a fee for having pets with you. Other hotels don’t. The hotels that charge you sometimes have a low, one-time fee whereas others tack on one small fee per day you’re booked in the hotel room. The largest one-time fee I’ve seen is $75 (but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were higher one-time fees out there somewhere), the smallest $25. Daily fees seem to range between $10 and $25 dollars (although it can cost more).

So how do you go about booking pet-friendly hotels and motels? Well, if you go to the website of your hotel of choice and can’t find a pet policy on their website, call and ask them about it. There are also websites like Pets Welcome , Pet Hotels of America, and Pet Friendly Hotels.

Some of my favorite websites for pet-friendly hotels (most of which appear dog-oriented – boo hiss) are:

  • The Trump Collection Hotels offering an in-room dining menu, water bowl with accompanying bottled water, toys, and a map of the city highlight dog-friendly…. Nevermind about that last part
  • Nine Zero in Boston has a “Tail in One City” package that includes an overnight stay in a deluxe room, designer pet welcome amenity, pet bowls, pet bed placed in the room, pet sitting, pet grooming, pet walking, and pet massage services.
  • Kimpton Hotels also have a pet-friendly policy. They have no size limits and charge no fees for pets in your room. They also offer pet beds, pet dishes, water and snacks in the lobby, personal greetings from the management (nice touch, Kimpton!), and a Director of Pet Relations at some locations (beware all cats: these Directors of Pet Relations are all dogs!!!)
  • And Phineas Swann in Vermont offers deluxe dog spa package. If they offered the same to cats, I’d be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!