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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Friends

fintodI was going through some photos today, and came across an oldie but goodie. This is me and Finn, hanging at the beach. I only wish I could have gotten a photo of me and Finn with Anders, too. We’re good pals and I miss hissing at Finn and ignoring Anders. Best of buds!

Ticket to Drive

It’s official!!! I can legally drive my stroller now! I’m not sure my height is correct, though. I think I’m taller than that. And what’s with the stupid picture? Why does every cat I know have a bad driver’s license picture?

Whatever! I’m ready to go cruising around the neighborhood in my green stroller with my new driver’s license. Mom won’t hand over the keys, though. She says she still thinks of me as her little boy. Bah humbug!!!

Darned the cold weather!

 

 

 

 

 

doofs

Ready for Camping

Darned that cold weather. Me and the boys are ready for our next camping trip, but that cold weather has prevented us from actually getting out and doing it. We’re so ready. Hopefully, videos will be coming soon of our adventures in our tent!

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!

Holiday Travels with Your Cat, Part 1

2012-11-13_09-42-30_HDRAs an early Christmas gift, a good friend of mine bought a tent for me and the boys (Max and Salem) … ok, maybe she bought it for the girls, too, but we didn’t invite them on our first camping trip (and they have to bring some pretty good bribes if they want to come on the next trip, like some cat grass or nip). Today, my good friend wanted details about that first camping trip, but I wanted to wait on giving said details because that was just a trial run. The boys and I are planning to go again, but next time we’re bringing supplies. I’m supposed to bring the 12-pack of milk, Max is supposed to bring the tuna we’re going to bar-b-que, and Salem’s going to bring the Greenies we’re going to roast over the fire (like you humans do marshmallows). That’s the camping trip I’m going to post about. And I plan on taking lots of pictures.

But my friend’s inquiry about that first camping trip got me thinking … the Holidays are coming up and lots of you humans go travelling during this time. Sometimes you bring us, your cats (or pets), sometimes you don’t. So I thought I’d post a 3-part series about travelling with, or without, your pets from a cat’s point of view. Today’s topic will be on cat-carriers, the next part will be on airlines (and other types of travel, like cars, trains and buses, but mostly on airlines), and the 3rd part will be on leaving your pets behind while you travel.

So, today, to start, I just want to talk about carriers. Carriers range from horrible to the one that works the best for you and your kitty (not all cats travel the same, so not all cats will be comfortable in the same type of carrier). To find the one that works best for your kitty, it’s a good idea to buy the one you like well ahead of time, then take your kitty on short trial runs in the car with their new carrier. You know your kitty best and will be able to determine if that particular carrier is sturdy enough for longer trips. If it’s not, return it and get a different carrier (hint: put some sort of protection, like a puppy pee pad, on the bottom of the carrier so that if your kitty has an accident, it won’t absorb into whatever material the carrier is made out of; puppy pee pads can also come in handy for us kitties while we’re in our carriers because some of us get scared poopless when we travel, like my sister, Penny – also, check with the store you buy the carrier from ahead of time to see what their return policy is).

IMG195Horrible cat carriers are the cardboard ones, like the ones they give you at an animal shelter or rescue for temporary use to get your new kitty home. Just because we like to play and sleep in cardboard boxes doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for us to travel in one. I mean, heck, the couch is no match for us, why do you silly humans expect a cardboard box to withstand our destructive efforts of getting out of the darned things and killing everyone involved in making us travel in the first place? Now, on that note, I must say that some cats actually do like to travel (most of us don’t). For instance, I love going on short car rides (after an hour, 2 hours max, I’ve had enough). Car rides, to me, mean long stroller rides at the end of it or returning home from a stroller ride to go zipping around the house like a mad man. I’ve gone on fun outings often enough that I don’t associate my carrier with travelling any great distance or the vet. In any case, forget the cardboard carriers. Just don’t use them!

airlineapprovedmeshcarrierOther kinds of carrier have mesh windows (like the ones pictured). Some might think us kitties could easily break out of these. That might be true for some kitties in some mesh carriers. However, the mesh is generally tough enough that we can’t get out of them. Some of these types of carriers can be airline-approved. And while they have semi-rigid shells, they tend to be somewhat flexible to squish under an airline seat (and you bet that this squishing will probably make most of us a bit nervous). You can find these type of carriers at places like Pet Food Express, Wal-Mart, on Amazon.com, wayfair.com or wag.com.

Then there are the rigid, plastic types of carriers, some of which are also airline-approved. While the carriers with mesh windows typically come with some sort of soft bedding inside, these hard, plastic carriers don’t. So, to make them more comfortable for us, you’ll want to put some secure bedding on the bottom (which helps us feel more secure because we’re not sliding around as much – we can actually gain some traction around corners or over bumps, which makes travel a bit less stressful). These types of carriers are pretty safe to take us traveling in, although if we’re determined enough, we can break out of these, as well. Yes indeed, it has happened before. You know those little latches on the door? A smart cat can figure out how to work those! Don’t put anything past a highly motived, determined cat. These types of carriers you can find almost anywhere. Sometimes you can even find them at your local shelters – they occasionally sell them when they have too many (granted, that doesn’t happen a lot, but sometimes they get more of them donated than they know what to do with). And shelters typically sell them for less than you can find them at any store. Other places you can go are Pet Food Express, Target, Wal-Mart, or online.

sleepypod-outsidersRecently, I saw a video for a type of carrier called the Sleepypod. I’ve never tried one out before, but it’s an ingenious idea. It’s basically a really comfy bed you can turn into a carrier. And, in case you weren’t aware, the more we use our carrier as a bed or sleeping spot, the more we play around it, the more fun it is for us, the more likely we are to be less stressed out on trips. So, for any carrier you get or have, leave it out somewhere for your kitty to sleep in. We don’t normally associat one of our favorite sleeping spots or play spots with a trip to the vet or moving or travelling for the Holidays, so when you go somewhere with us in our bed, we’ll be more comfortable overall (that still doesn’t mean we won’t freak out).So if you decide to get something like a Sleepypod, be sure to leave it out as a bed for us to sleep in with the top of it right next to it or nearby. That way, we won’t associate the top coming out of storage with a trip in the car.

Here’s a video of the Sleepypod. I am in no way advertising for them or suggesting that this is the carrier for you, and I do apologize for the cheesy advertising aspect of the video, but I thought you might like to see how it works.

Until tomorrow when we talk about airlines. Yikes!

(P.S. There’s a cooler and, to me, more informative video about the Sleepypod here).