I Like Plastic

I love to eat plastic. Mom always worries about me choking on it, so she’s quick to throw it away in a covered trash can. But sometimes I find it before she can throw it away and I’ll start munching away. It’s not very nice when she tears it out of my mouth, but she does worry. She thinks I’ll choke on it. Well, low and behold, I started choking on dry cat food today. I was so scared, I started purring (for you humans, the purr is associated with any strong emotion, not just happiness).

aidMom learned a big lesson today. She had taken a pet first aid class taught by someone with the Red Cross, when she worked at an animal shelter. That was close to 10 years ago, and when she heard from my other ma that I was choking (mom was at school when I was choking), she wished she had kept up her certification in that. She realized just how important that class was and how important it is to know what to do for your kitties when they need your help. So, if you’ve never considered becoming certified in pet first aid, you should consider it now. You never know exactly when you might save the life of someone’s pet, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

You can sign up for classes by visiting the Red Cross website. Do a search for pet first aid classes and register for one. I think it’s such a good idea, I’m purring about it. Because cpr cat isn’t always around to jump into action.

cprcat

Not Your 5 O’Clock News

BreakingNewsToday’s News Stories brought to you by Channel Todd News and the Channel Todd News Team.

Cat looking through a narrow doorway

State of Emergency: The door is closing, the door is closing! Somebody, open it quick! I’ve lost my opposable thumbs and can’t get out!

Top Story from Channel Todd News: Missing Cali

caliThere’s a kitty still missing in Canyon Country, CA (if you know where that is, keep an eye out for this beauty!). She’s been missing since 12/12/13. If you live in the area and see this tuxedo girl, please contact us here at Channel Todd News (either by commenting on this newsfeed, messaging me on facebook, or emailing me at toddfrumpus at yahoo dot com). Or you can go to the Rally for Cali facebook page for direct contact information.

Top Story in Business: Sammey’s Cat Houses
sammyscathouse
Sammey’s Cat Houses is an up-and-coming business that builds hand-crafted cat homes, like log cabins, all for the pleasure of us cats. They were even in a contest that would have given them a commercial spot during the Super Bowl this year. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it into the top 4 and, therefore, won’t be seen during Super Bowl Sunday. But maybe you could help them out by visiting their website and buying a custom-built tree house for your own kitty. Or, if you live in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, you could always visit their showroom and buy something directly from them.

Top Story in Style: Germans Joining Awesome “Cat-Focused Homes” Club
Goldtatze1
Hauspanther, an online magazine for “design-conscious cat people”, posted an article about a new German organization called Goldtatze. Goldtatze has joined the cat-house craze that Japan is well known for by building furniture that turns a human-centric home into a cat-centric home. With great walkways that hang from the ceiling to a central cat tree leading up to the walkways to beautiful, high window seats that are awesome for bird-watching, Goldtatze will soon become a cat-focused force to be reckoned with. Watch out Japan. Here comes Goldtatze!

Top Story in Health: PetMD
Have you heard of WebMD where you can go and check out what your symptoms may mean for your health? Did you know that there’s a WebMD for cats? It’s called the PetMD Symptom Checker. It can help you determine if you should take kitty in to the veterinary immediately, or if kitty can wait for a scheduled appointment. But, as with any medical issue, when in doubt, ask your veterinarian. And always keep an eye on kitty; you know how we can be mildly OCD about things, and PetMD might just help us build up our hypochondriac tendencies. You can visit the PetMD Symptom Checker site here.

Now for your commercial break

Top Story in Entertainment: Not Really for the Birds
There’s a new (ok, not so new – it was released in 2000) Pixar movie out called For the Birds, but I think this movie is really for the cats. It must be really good because other orange tabbies are truly focused on the greatness that is For the Birds. While it runs a bit long at 3 minutes and 26 seconds, it does seem to have the ability to capture and hold attention of us cats. You can see one cat’s review in the video below. Let us know what you think by leaving comments below.

Top Story in Sports: Our Favorite Team
Are you ready for the playoffs? Based in California, we here at Channel Todd News are hoping the Kitten Bowl will be a big hit on Super Bowl Sunday. We’re rooting for the kittens to win this one. It’s about time, anyway, since Puppy Bowl has been around for a while. We’re aware that Puppy Bowl has since shared some time with kittens, but the Hallmark Channel will be focusing just on kittens this year. We applaud them.

Top Story in Opinion: Mousebreath
mousebreathThere’s a magazine out there called Mousebreath. We adore the magazine and hope we can get as popular as they are. http://mousebreath.com/ They have great articles and provide a lot of information to us cats. It’s a magazine by cats for cats. Who can beat that? I’d love to be hired by them, but I don’t even know how to get started. I’m a fine reporter, but not a great writer. Hey, maybe they need a reporter? I guess I’ll head on over and find out.

Top Stories in Events: Out and About
avaAva Gardner, the cat, is celebrating her 12th birthday on February 22. To join in her celebration, you can visit her Facebook page here.

From January 25th through February 2nd, there’s the (hopefully first annual) Cat Art Show in Los Angeles. We’re very excited about this and are looking forward to giving it rave reviews. For more information, visit the website here.

And finally, here are the remaining dates for the Internet Cat Video Festival and Tour in the 2013/2014 season:
March 2014, SXSW, Austin, TX
Spring 2014, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
May 2014: Great Wall of Oakland, Oakland, CA
June 2014: Hollywood Theater, Portland, OR
For more information, visit their website here.

Senior Maude

cattownMy mom loves senior kitties. A friend shared this photo of a 16 year old senior kitty named Maude (isn’t she adorable?!?!?). Maude is in need of a foster home, or, better yet, someone to adopt her. My mom would take her in a flash, but I reminded her that if she adopted every kitty she wanted, she’d never have time for me and my sister (plus, people might call her a cat hoarder if she actually did adopt all the kitties she wanted to). If you’re interested in fostering or adopting Maude, please contact Cat Town. You can find their website here and you can find them on facebook here. My mom and I looked for a phone number and couldn’t find one, but you can also email them about Maude at info@cattownoakland.org. Can you help give this sweetheart a warm, loving home for the last years of her life? The poor thing was found on the streets before being taken to the Oakland City Animal Shelter and then rescued by Cat Town. Even though I love to go outside, I’m always happy to come back inside with my people who love me. I think every cat deserves that!

If you can’t adopt Maude, would you mind terribly if I asked you to post about Maude? You can do that through twitter or facebook or on pintrest or anywhere you want to. Help me get the word out that Maude needs a home. You can link directly to the Cat Town post about Maude on facebook here or you can retweet or share my post, too!

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.

The Giving Season

Tis-the-SeasonLots of people tend to give more during the holidays than at any other time of year. But both people and pets need your help year round. So this January, when giving tends to be at its lowest, think of donating items you no longer use. If you got lots of clothes during the holidays, clear out a few of your older clothes and donate those. If you got new sheets and bedspread, think of donating the older ones. If you got new pet toys and pet beds, donating those are a great idea. There are so many things we can give to others who need it at a time when a lot of people don’t think of doing so.

fruitcakeSo, where do you take the items you’d like to donate? If you have canned food, maybe that fruit cake no one wants, you can take those items directly to your local food bank. They are always in need of unexpired items. Donating cash to local food banks is always helpful, as well, as is donating items such as toiletries and can openers. And there are lots of people who couldn’t live without the help of food banks who have pets, so donating pet food and supplies can be tremendously helpful (please don’t judge … we don’t know the history of how people ended up needing help, and pets are often invaluable mates to those in need – these pets are also well cared for, and the first to eat, even if that means the human goes without food).

Homeless-ShelterHow about clothes, coats and bedding? You can take all of these to local human shelters, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. You also can find clothes donation bins in some parking lots. These bins usually aren’t associated with thrift stores (there are some exceptions). If the name of the donation bin is not a familiar one to you or if it’s not associated with a thrift shop, then they are often not associated with any type of charity.

old-catsAnd, of course, if you have used pet toys, collars, leashes, beds, pet clothing, etc., you can take these directly to your local animal shelter or rescue. A few notes on a couple of items: please don’t donate used litter boxes (or at least call the rescue first). Litter boxes carry germs. Sometimes kitties can carry germs, like with a cold, and not actually come down with it. Those germs get in the litter box and taken to the shelter. If that litter box gets used in a shelter, even after it’s cleaned, another kitty could loosen debris and germs stuck in the scratches on the bottom of the litter box. And kitties in shelters tend to be stressed out and more susceptible to illness. So voila, kitty in shelter gets a cold and now has a hard time finding a home because people are less likely to adopt a sick kitty. Also, with any items, call your local animal shelter to make sure they can actually use the items. If not, you can try donating these items to thrift stores, at local human shelters, and at a local food bank.

Also, with any donation, if it’s something you wouldn’t use, maybe its not worth donating. By that, I don’t mean that if you got a really ugly blanket for Christmas that you shouldn’t donate it; by all means do. What I mean by that is if that really ugly blanket you got for Christmas was supposed to replace the blanket that’s so worn out, falling apart, that you can’t use it anymore, then maybe it’s time to head to the trash or recycle bin with it instead of to the donation bin.

homeless-390x250Anyway, maybe you could try to donate one thing this January, whether it’s leftover Denny’s you hand to the homeless kid you often see on the street corner asking for money, or a can of beans you take to the local food bank, or a brand new cat bed you take to the local animal shelter. Remember that it’s often the little things that count, that mean the most to those in need. You don’t have to give a dog bed to every dog in the shelter, but if you give one to the dog that’s been there a while or to the senior doggy, they will be truly grateful; you will have made a direct difference in someone else’s life.

 

Lovely End to a Lovely Day

Just in case you haven’t had enough heart-warming today, here is a fabulous video about people saving all different sorts of animals. Love makes the world go round.

New Years Eve

CatI know it’s not Christmas quite yet, but since New Year’s Eve isn’t far behind, I thought now might be the time to talk. I myself am a bit of a party cat and would love to entertain at a wondrous New Year’s Eve Party. But let’s face it, even a party cat like me can get overwhelmed with all that champagne and want to just hide away somewhere. Or, better yet, sneak out the front door and take a ride home with someone else for the night. And I’m a bit of an outgoing kind of guy. Just think of all those little kitties who are shy, skittish, and unsure of strangers. Take my little sister, Penny, for example. The most a “stranger” has gotten in is a 15 second pat on her rump as she’s running away … and to her, a stranger is anyone other than me and my mom. I know she’s not the only kitty out there like this. So here are some tips for keeping us kitties safe and happy for New Years.

  • Remember that it’s much easier for us to escape when doors are opening and closing a lot, especially if alcohol is involved in your evening’s celebrations.
  • If you have a room that your kitties enjoy hanging out in, other than the main entertaining area of your home, keeping kitties in that room with a litter box, food and water (please don’t put our food and water near our litter box) can be a great way of keeping us safe, cozy and comfy.
  • Remember that kazoos, champagne corks exploding out of bottles, party poppers, balloons, streamers, fireworks, and any other strange and loud noises can easily frighten us; we don’t really understand what all that stuff is for and it can be really scary.
  • Please don’t feed us party food or alcohol – some of it can be toxic and dangerous to us.
  • Make sure we’re wearing a collar with your contact information just in case we should somehow slip out and get really scared. And if your kitties aren’t microchipped, consider getting it done, because it can be a great way to reconnect you to your kitty should your kitty end up at a veterinarian’s office or shelter.
  • Please have a good time; all I ask is that you keep your pets safe and stay safe yourself!

 

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.