Say Cheese! 9 Ways to Capture Share-worthy Photos of Your Cat
The lifestyle magazine for modern cats and their companions
FALL· WINTER 2014/15
How to Play With Your Cat
Your Cat Wants To Tell You
(Hint: most people are doing it wrong)
Publications Agreement Number 42496543 Return Mail Dept, 202–343 Railway St., Vancouver, BC V6A 1A4
Decode Your Cat’s Body Language e! g a g En ctual Institntoys ca 0 p5 moderncat.com DISPLAY UNTIL JAN ‘15
It's Nala, the Internet's Next "It" Cat!
Plus! Novel Treats to Tempt Your Cat
MAKE IT! Super-cute DIY cat badges + stickers you're going to want to put on everything
26 FEATURES 26
The All-Important Play Sequence Your cat won’t play? Think you’ve tried everything? Maybe you’re doing it wrong!
Litter Box Blues 10 reasons your cat is having “accidents.” BY STEVE DUNO
KNOW YOUR CATS
The Next “It” Cat Hanging with celebrity cat Nala.
13 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know
Enchanting and Endangered Get to know these small wild cats (they have a lot in common with the feline you share your couch with) before it’s too late. BY JEANNE BERGMAN
Missing 68 Your Lost Cat Action Plan: here’s what to do if your cat goes missing (hint: time is of the essence).
Take Way Better Photos of Your Cat 9 tips from photographer Grace Chon that will drastically improve your cat photos.
BY MIESHELLE NAGELSCHNEIDER
BY ROSE FROSEK
BY LAUREN CHEAL AND TARYN CHEAL
BY JEN REEDER
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I L LU ST R AT I O N K I M SM I T H
The Sphynx Furless and fantastic. Get to know the happy Buddha of the cat kingdom. BY KELLY CALDWELL
THE GOODS 38
Style at Home A house is not a home without a cat.
Your Instinctual Cat Finds to tickle your cat’s fancy. Want It! Our current obsessions.
BODY AND SOUL 56
Pumpkin, Your Cat’s Digestive Cure All; Yes, This Actually Exists. And Cats Are Crazy For It
Keep Calm and Carry On; Cats Go Hungry Too; Is It Safe to Feed My Cat Raw Eggs?; Quotable Quote
We're Giving it Away! We've got months of fab giveaways, from cool cat beds to terrific books, just waiting to be won!
The Cat Came Back A cat who passed returns to offer comfort—or so it seems. BY SUZANNE BEECHER
Warning: Extreme Cuteness! The most magical place on Earth? It just might be the Rocky Ridge Refuge, home to a veritable Noah’s ark of rescued animals.
66 COVER CAT It's Nala, the internet's next "it" cat! For more on this cutie, turn to page 36. Photographed by Lisa Scarsi.
DIY Craft: Scout’s Honour! Super-cute camp-inspired badges made for adorning everything from your sweater to a jar of treats.
6 Novel Treats to Tempt Your Cat From salmon water to broccoli, these healthy tidbits may just tickle your cat’s taste buds. BY ELIZABETH PASK AND LAURA SCOTT
66 Injured Cat Inspires People All Over the World Meet Tyrone, Modern Cat's Star Cat Contest winner! BY ROSE FROSEK; PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAUREN KAPLAN
REGULAR FEATURES 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Contributors 10 Stuff We Love 12 The Scoop 18 Photo Contest 78 Marketplace
P H OTO G R ACE CH O N
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How I Met My Cat An injured kitten heals a broken heart. BY LISA EVANS
Connie’s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and good book. Editor-in-Chief Connie Wilson’s must-reads.
How to Read Your Cat’s Body Language An illustrated guide. BY KIM SMITH
In USA: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 3, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at 142 Churchill Drive, Newington, CT 06111-4003. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, CT and additional offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Dog, PO Box 310402, Newington, CT 06131-0402.
OUR R E ADE R S WR IT E
ED ITO R ’S LE T T E R
We're Lovin' It!
C O N N I E W I L S O N W I T H LY L E
here’s a birthday in the house: Modern Cat magazine is TWO! This issue marks the second anniversary of our launch! Thanks to you, our devoted, enthusiastic, and all around super-wonderful readers, Modern Cat has grown in leaps and bounds. We couldn’t have done it without you! We’re thrilled to have such an amazing, interesting, and engaged following. You inspire us to constantly raise the bar of what a magazine for cat-lovers looks like. After all, we think we cat people deserve the best and we aim to deliver! We see it as our job to delight, educate, and generally help you live a better life with your cats. Part of this is to help you get inside the feline mind and, to that end, we have insight from some pretty darn inspiring cat experts, like “Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy and the “Cat Whisperer” Mieshelle Nagelschneider. The latter’s fascinating article on the play sequence—a lot of people are doing it wrong—may just revolutionize how you play with your cat (p 36). We also address litter box woes (p 32), round up instinctual cat toys that will thrill your cat, share finds for the home that will delight you, as well as books to curl up with (you’re definitely going to want to check out Catification, Jackson Galaxy’s new book on “catifying” your home on p 75), plus so much more. (Flip to page 44 for “13 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know,” for one!) Thank you for being part of the Modern Cat family. We couldn’t ask for a better community!
I recently received my Summer issue of Modern Cat. I had some extra scrap yarn so I thought I would make some of your “Amazeballs” toys. As you can see Kalli (Calico) and Fizz (Tortie) are enjoying them! As a foster parent, I enjoyed your article on the socialization of feral cats.—Ellen Lutes My cats love the wand we won on August 1st. Oscar and Gustaph love following it around, chasing it, and tackling it! Thank you Modern Cat magazine!—Morgan Nerat I wanted to thank Modern Cat magazine for the wonderful Catty Stacks! I was the winner of your contest recently and donated the four Catty Stacks to my local rescue center, South Coast Humane Society. Many thanks for the wonderful prize. Lots of kitties will be able to have fun while waiting for adoption!—Kate Higgins
Thanks for the amazing cheese ball recipe! It tastes great and looks so adorable!! —Laila Barker Connie Wilson, Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief
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For a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re up to in the MC offices, the latest breaking stories and videos, cool contests, events, and exclusive giveaways, become a fan of Modern Cat on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest!
C ON TRIBUT OR S The lovely Grace Chon is a photographer specializing in animals, lifestyle images, and celebrities with their pets. So when we wanted to share tips on how to capture magazineworthy shots of your cats (page 70), we went straight to Grace! Grace’s clients include ad agencies, publishing companies, celebrities, non-profit organizations, TV shows, and Modern Cat’s sister publication, Modern Dog! She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and baby boy, and spends her time creating gorgeous images of people and pets. Check out more of Grace’s work at gracechon.com.
FALL/WINTER 2014/15 VOL 3 NO 2 Publisher
Modern Cat Inc. Editor-in-Chief
Connie Wilson Editor & Creative Director
Jennifer Nosek Audience Development & Digital Marketing
Lauren Cheal Social Media & Events Coordinator
Taryn Cheal Design & Production
Maxine Matishak Design & Production Assistant
Vanessa Dong Sales & Marketing
Julia Klymenko and Kara Gerlach Accounting and Subscription Services
Celine Benipayo Subscription Services Assistant
For Lauren Kaplan, taking pictures of pets is her passion and her livelihood. She has been photographing animals since her early childhood. After earning two degrees, she decided to combine her love of animals and photography in her photography business, Pet Imagery. We were delighted to assign her to the Star Cat shoot with Tyrone (p 66) as her sensibilities so mirror our own. Lauren lives in South Philadelphia, where she is honoured to take many private commissions for photo sessions with people and their pets. Check out her work at petimagery.com.
Cecilia de Roca Chan Honourary Editor-at-Large
Jytte Wilson Subscription inquiries call (800) 417-6289 Advertising inquiries call (866) 734-3131 In Canada: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 3, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4 POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Cat, Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4 In USA: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 3, Issue 2. Published semi annually by Modern Cat Inc. at 142 Churchill Drive, Newington, CT 061114003. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, CT and additional offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Modern Dog, PO Box 310402, Newington, CT 06131-0402. PHONE
OR TOLL FREE
For our cover shoot, photographer Lisa Scarsi got to combine her passions—animals and photography—and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the gorgeous results. Lisa lives in Southern California with her husband John, human children Angelo and Sophia, and a mini-menagerie of permanent and foster fur-children. She often travels for work and has been featured in exhibits, magazines, and books. To see more of her work go to lisascarsi.com. For more on our adorable cover cat, Nala, turn to page 36.
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(604) 734-3031 OR TOLL FREE (866) 734-3031
The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, images, photographs or other materials. By accepting and publishing advertising the publisher in no way recommends, guarantees or endorses the quality of services or products within those advertisements. Copyright 2014/15 by Modern Cat Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical, including the Internet or photocopying without the written permission of the Publisher. Modern Cat and its logotype are the trademarks of Modern Cat Inc. Subscription orders and customer service inquiries should be sent to Modern Cat Subscription Services, Suite 202–343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4
PRINTED IN CANADA
www.moderncat.com Publications Mail Agreement Number 42496543
STUFF WE LOVE Modern Cat staffers’ picks of the litter 1 These non-slip food bowl placemats from Popware for Pets help keep floors
clean and prevent bowls from slipping. Raised edges contain crumbs and spills, while interior nibs hold dishes and bowls in place. Plus, they’re easy to clean. Popware for the win!—Maxine ($13, popwareforpets.com)
2 What do you give the cat lover who has everything? Why, this adorable GelaSkin iPad cover from Nuvango of course! The best part? They can be customized with any cat photo you want.—Charlie ($30, nuvango.com)
3 I am a bit of a picky eater when it comes to treats, but I really love the Purrfectly Natural Beef Lung treats. My mom rambled on about them being made in the YOUESSAY and having no additives, but I only care that they have a really great texture and also taste SO GOOD.—Lyle the Cat ($4, lovingpetsproducts.com)
4 Trips with your cat are much more comfortable with the Bergan Voyager
Comfort Carrier. This soft-sided carrier has unique features like a zipper pocket that allows you to reach in to pet your cat, and the zipper can only be opened by the pull so anxious paws can’t force open the carrier!—Jennifer ($50, bergan.com)
5 My cats and I love the NVR Miss Litterbox. The high sides prevent any fervent digging from spraying litter, but it is easy to get in and out of, especially for older cats. Also, the curved sides make for easy scooping!—Taryn ($19, nvrmiss.com)
6 There are many things I love about my cat but scooping poop isn’t one of them.
Thank goodness my new Wonder Scooper makes cleaning so much faster and easier! The large scoop makes quick work of the dirty business (the large slits mean easy sifting and the round edges reach into corners), which means more time to play with my kitty!—Kara ($12, wonderscooper.com)
7 This cool orange watch from 1 Face Watch supports the SPCA and helps cats in need find loving forever homes. I’m extremely proud to wear my support for rescued animals on my wrist.—Lauren ($50, 1facewatch.ca)
8 Ever wonder what your cat is doing when you're not home? With Petcube, a camera that is hooked up to an app on your mobile device, you’ll now know! It allows you to check in on your cats, take photos, record in HD, and even talk to them. There’s also a safe built-in laser that you can control from anywhere so that you can play with them, too!—Vanessa ($199, petcube.com)
9 This soft, screen-printed shirt from Inkopious will definitely bring out the cool cat in you! Bonus: 20% of your purchase is donated to non-profit animal rescue. Talk about looking good while helping animals in need!—Celine ($25, inkopious.com)
10 Looking for a clean and simple cat perch? Look no further than The Cat’s Grass’ Maxwell Majesty Deluxe Lounge made from solid walnut wood with sisal covered posts! It’s the perfect perch for scratching and lazing around on. Ah, to lead a cat’s life.—Connie (pricing upon request, thecatsgrass.com)
* 10 moderncat
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CAT NEWS AND REVIEWS
The results are in! Your cat DOES love you!
Cards from Cats?
We all want to send a card with our cat’s face on it. This is simply a universal truth. And most of us cat people would really like to receive more cards from cats too. Luckily, thanks to a ridiculously fun website called Cards from Cats, both of these things are now very possible. Cardsfromcats.com lets you upload photos of your cats and place them into a card of your choosing—and there are cards for virtually any and every occasion you can think of. Best of all, the process is easy, fun, and requires the bare minimum of skills to make something hilarious and/ or beautiful. Simply upload the photo you want to use, pick your card (there are so many fun options you’d be forgiven for going a bit card crazy), accessorize your cat with hundreds of clip art options, and voilà, you have created a card with your own cat in it! Send out evites to your next party, apologize for getting cat litter everywhere, or just send a card of your cat playing football to amuse your friends and family because, why not? A year’s subscription, which allows you to make as many cards as you can, is just $10. Not too shabby for some of the most cat-related fun you can have in front of a computer—and that’s saying a lot. Now excuse us, we have some cat cards to create.
››Create a card with your cat on it at cardsfromcats.com
Cats are often characterized as having an aloof and detached attitude toward their humans. But a recent study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior suggests that a cat's affectionate behaviour is similar to that of young children in the presence of their mothers. Like small children, the feline way of showing they love you isn’t necessarily exhibited by affection, but rather is seen in how comfortable they are to explore the world around them in your presence. The study showed cats were more likely to wander, explore, and vocalize around their humans. When in the company of a stranger, they would sit by the door and were much more silent. So your cat does you love you! She might not show it in a slavishly demonstrative fashion but simply walking around meowing shows it!
MODERN CAT POLL
Do you buy presents (birthday, Christmas…) for your cat? CAST YOUR VOTE AT MODERNCAT.COM
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THE SCOOP Hi, name is...
Cats Sleep in the Weirdest Places... Hilarious reader submitted photos of their snoozing felines
MR. G SUBMITTED BY RENEE RANGELESPINOZA
SUBMITTED BY DEE WALTER KRULESKI FLUFFY SUBMITTED BY LILL WOOLWEBER
Top 5 Most Popular Cat Names of 2014 1. MAX 2. LUCY 3. SMOKEY 4. SHADOW 5. CHARLIE
PEBBLES ANN SUBMITTED BY NANCY MACINTYRE
* SOURCE: ASPCA PET HEALTH INSURANCE FAMILY
52% of Modern Cat readers walk their cat on a leash
SUBMITTED BY NYRHTAK ETSERO SOC SUBMITTED BY ANAÏS TRUDEAU BONNARD
SUBMITTED BY ROSE LUPO F ALL/ WINTER 2014/ 15
THE SCOOP CAPTION THIS!
Cat Lovers Saved from Long Lines Hate waiting in line? You’re definitely not alone. Luckily, the wait just got shorter, at least at the City of Austin Town Lake Animal Shelter. QLess, the world’s first mobile queuing solution, has provided the Town Lake Animal Shelter its time management services so that those looking to adopt a pet can secure their spot in line remotely. As you move along in the virtual line, estimated wait time updates are given, so you can show up just before it’s your turn rather than wait in a long line up. “Since the Town Lake Animal Shelter started using our services, they have been able to save their clientele a combined one year, 226 days, and 10 hours of time they would have wasted in line,” notes QLess Founder and CEO Alex Bäcker. Bäcker, a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, invented the idea for QLess while standing in line at a Knotts Berry Farm. His mission, one he's been remarkably effective at, is to eliminate waiting in lines. Utilizing an elite team from leading universities and Internet companies including Caltech, MIT, and Yahoo!, QLess has thus far been able to save over ten million people from more than a quarter of a millennium of waiting in line. Pretty amazing stuff. Just think of all the extra time you'd be able to spend cuddling with your cat!
And the winning captions from last issue are..
"Sorry, Officer... I thought the light was still grey!" SUBMITTED BY KEVIN ENNIS
RUNNER-UP CAPTIONS "This is because I'm a cat, right?" SUBMITTED BY FUNNY GIRL
"Yes, I'm aware its daytime and I should be napping." SUBMITTED BY STEVE CLAYPATCH
"I don't care how fast that mouse was running!" SUBMITTED BY NERI KASTNER
"Catnip? No I don't smell any catnip. Not that I know what it smells like... Is it getting hot all of sudden?" SUBMITTED BY JOSEPH DEWAN
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C A R T O O N S © 2014 B Y D A V I D J A C O B S O N
Exercise your funny bone. Create a caption for this cartoon and submit your entry at moderncat.com/cartooncaption. The most comic captions will be published in the next issue.
R E P cat SU PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ! E T U C Emmy
Finnigan & Nala John Lennon
Mr.Talbot & Booger
Toki Olivia & Mia
Charlie 18 moderncat
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Tater Tot Violet Tesla
Emmiline Think your cat ought to grace the pages of Modern Cat? Upload your cat's photo at moderncat.com/photocontest. Not only will he or she be entered to be our Cat of the Week, but a selection of the photos entered will appear on these pages!
The Sphynx Furless and fantastic By Kelly Caldwell
TO GET THE W KNO PPY HA HA D BUD E CAT H OF T GDOM KIN
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mong purebred cat breeds, none is quite so unique—and polarizing—as the Sphynx. With its big pot belly, wrinkly bald skin, and oversized ears, there is simply no mistaking the Sphynx. Chances are, when you do see a Sphynx, you’ll marvel with delight because you absolutely love the look of it—or then again, maybe not. The history of this unique breed dates back to 1966 when a hairless kitten was born in Toronto, Canada. The cat—named ‘Prune’—was born hairless due to a genetic mutation. In recognition of her similar appearance to the cats seen in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, she was labelled the Sphynx. (Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history, this is the first time the type was assigned a name.) Efforts to breed Prune weren’t ultimately fruitful, but interest in a hairless breed had been established. In the early 1970s, hairless cats were bred to other hairless cats, and then later bred to the Devon Rex, an intelligent breed known for its very short, soft, curly coat and large ears. In time, the distinctive Sphynx was well established. The breed was recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1979. To discuss the Sphynx, we’ve got to start with its unique appearance. Just look at that coat—or, more specifically, the predominate lack thereof. Though referred to as a hairless cat, a layer of fine down covers this cat’s skin and gives it a soft, suede-like texture. The shades of pigment you see on the Sphynx’s skin reflect the colour of his would-be fur. Accepted patterns include all the usual cat markings, such as solid, particolour, tabby, and tortoiseshell. It’s little wonder the Sphynx is described by some as the Buddha cat—the Sphynx’s belly looks extremely plump and round. In fact, most cats have a similarly sized and shaped belly, but they have fur to cover it up. The same goes for those trademark wrinkles, which all cats have but of course stand out on the Sphynx. If this wasn’t already enough to pique your interest in the breed, these cats are known for having a personality that’s almost as distinct as their appearance. This extroverted breed is so friendly and affectionate it is known for its habit of greeting visitors at the door. Devotees of the Sphynx describe uncommonly close bonds with these energetic, intelligent, and curious cats. moderncat.com
Pot-bellied, wrinkled, and hairless— the look of the Sphynx may not be to everyone’s taste. But when it comes to personality, the Sphynx is positively bursting with it.
The Sphynx Grooming: No brushing is required, but weekly bathing is needed to prevent the coat’s oils from transferring to clothes and furniture. Playfulness/sociability: The Sphynx has earned a reputation as an affectionate, friendly, and fun-loving cat.
Buddha belly aside, the Sphynx is actually quite a sturdy, athletic cat. This high-energy breed loves to explore his surroundings and play, play, play. Life with a Sphynx is certainly never dull. Because these cats lack fur, the coat has natural oils that can get on clothes and furniture. To keep stains at bay, both a daily wipe with a sponge and a weekly bath are recommended. True, the average cat hates a bath, but let’s face it, the Sphynx is anything but average. You’ll find that most tolerate bath time quite well as they have been accustomed to the habit from an early age. A Sphynx cat will feel quite warm to the touch—and warm is exactly how they like it. In fact, don’t be surprised if you find that your Sphynx likes to snuggle under the covers with you. These cats crave and need warmth, and exposure to the elements can adversely affect them. In colder climates, many choose to keep a sweater on their cat, to help keep them warm. Conversely, sunburn is a risk in warmer weather and, if you allow your Sphynx to venture out of doors, he’ll need some catsafe sunscreen. In terms of health, the Sphynx is considered a healthy breed, but there are instances of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disorder that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood properly. Veterinarians, researchers, and dedicated breeders are working to learn more about the disease and limit its impact on the breed. Pot-bellied, wrinkled, and hairless—the look of the Sphynx may not be to everyone’s taste. But when it comes to personality, the Sphynx is positively bursting with it. Affectionate and fun-loving, many have found their perfect pet in the form of the world’s most distinctive cat. n
If you like the Sphynx, give some consideration to the...
Heritage: The breed originated in Canada in the 1960s and was further developed in the 1970s. US and Canadian Rescue: Visit the Sphynx Open Arms Rescue at sphynxrescue.org.
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s y a w a e v i G t a e Gr
ENTER TO WIN We’re giving it away! Enter to win fabulous giveaways October through March. Go to moderncat.com/giveaways to enter! Lucky readers will win every two weeks.
Win a copy of the new book Catification by Jackson Galaxy (TV’s My Cat from Hell). Make your home cat-friendly and chic with Catification.
Win 1 of 4 Cat Ball kitty beds from the Cat Ball! Winners choose their favourite colour and four lucky kitties will have pleasant dreams!
1st-14th Win 1 of 10 Andis Trim 'N Go cordless trimmers. Nice and compact, it's purrfect for keeping faces and paws neat and trimmed or to remove small burrs and tangles.
Win a SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder, designed for multi-pet homes to stop pets from stealing each other’s food! Great for weight management and prescription diets.
Win 1 of 20 prize packs of Cloud 9, the most delicious cat treat, high in protein, low in calories, with a flavour to die for!
Win 1 of 12 bottles of Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula for Cats. Maintain joint mobility and support a health immune system.
Win 1 of 16 copies of 67 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs from National Geographic and prove the supremacy of your cat.
Win 1 of 8 sets of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? book and Chicken Soup for the Soul premium cat food.
Win 1 of 20 two-year subscriptions to Modern Cat magazine, chock full of helpful articles, heartwarming stories, and so many cute cat photos!
Win 1 of 25 bags of Purrfectly Natural Cat Treats from Loving Pets! Available in four single-ingredient 100% natural pure meats: Buffalo, Beef Lung, Chicken, and Shrimp.
Win 1 of 8 food and treat prize packs from Redbarn Naturals. Their grainfree food and treats come in three irresistible recipes cats love!
15th-31st Win 1 of 15 Fur-Zoff, the new and better way to remove pet hair from your home and vehicles. Made in USA of 90% recycled material, it’s 100% durable!
No purchase necessary to enter or win. Beginning October 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM (PST) through March 31, 2015 at 11:59 PM (PST), enter each day at moderncat.com/giveaways. Each biweekly giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (PST). Every two weeks, the specified number of winners for that giveaway will win the prize featured in the giveaway calendar (ARV: $200). Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Contest is open to legal Canadian and US residents 18 and older as of date of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. Giveaway subject to complete official rules available at moderncat.com/giveaways.
LET'S PLAY! FROM EYE STARE T KILL BI O TE
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Stalking and catching prey, or its bloodless equivalent, is crucial to your cat’s happiness and to both remedying and preventing behaviour issues.
Your cat won’t play? Think you’ve tried everything? Maybe you’re doing it wrong! By Mieshelle Nagelschneider, aka the Cat Whisperer
ats are such agile, stealthy, and athletic predators. The same characteristics that allow a jaguar to ambush prey permit house cats to jump with precision off the sofa. We only need watch cats play to gain an impression of their predatory prowess. And yet many people are unable to get their cats to play at all. This is not actually so remarkable if you watch how they’re playing with their cats. In short, they’re doing it wrong. Many cat owners tell me they have “tried everything” and have had no luck getting their cats to so much as bat at a toy mouse. And those cat owners that can get their cats to play often find that play culminates in nothing more than frustration for both cat and owner. During such scenarios, the cat’s tension and stress build, and the appetitive behaviour (that which fulfills a need or compulsion to hunt, for example) may not be fulfilled, leaving the cat dissatisfied. In my practice, I try to help the cat owner get inside the mind of their cat to help them help their cat fully express all of his instinctual behaviours, including the hunting motor pattern sequence. This sequence includes the eye stare, the stalk and chase, the grab and bite or pounce and bite, and even the kill bite.
Cats are Lone Hunters Really, with the exception of lions, cats are solitary hunters. Instinctively, our domestic cats do not hunt together. Because of this, if you have a multi-cat household, it’s important to avoid creating group playtime with your cats. Countering your cats’ instincts by trying to get them to take turns pouncing on a wand toy that you’re maneuvering can backfire. You can inadvertently
encourage competition and spur on territorial disputes that can lead to ongoing hostility among cats. I’ve seen many cats blossom into confident players once other cats were removed from the scene. Relationships can improve between cats once you stop the group playtimes. It’s really amazing how issues resolve themselves when you create an environment that fits with your cat’s natural instinctual behaviour.
What Toy to Choose Wand toys are some of the best toys to help simulate a “real” hunt for your cat. These are toys that require the owner to maneuver them. My favourite is the new Playful Panther, a wand toy designed to simulate erratic prey-like movement like no other toy I’ve seen. It really helps stimulate your cat’s inner wildcat instincts. Da Bird is also an excellent wand toy.
How to Play with your Cat: From Eye Stare to Kill Bite, the Complete Sequence You are essentially the life of the prey target. Be cautious of the following, as I state in my book, The Cat Whisperer: Don’t wiggle the toy in your cat’s face or move it toward your cat. This won’t make sense to your cat and it might frighten him. Real prey moves away. Real prey hides. Your cat also needs the mental stimulation of strategizing how he’s going to ambush that mouse behind the couch. It’s not all about chasing and pouncing and biting. That being said, cats love the chase! This is their utopia. In fact, “the chase” is often preferred more than actually catching
“Don’t wiggle the toy in your cat’s face or move it toward your cat. This won’t make sense to your cat and it might frighten him. Real prey moves away. Real prey hides.”
their prey or eating it. Most cat owners have heard of cats “halfkilling” their prey and then releasing the prey only to catch it over and over again. When the injured prey runs behind a bush or flops around incapacitated behind a fallen tree where the cat can hear it, but can’t see it, a feeling of eager anticipation sets in and really gets the feel good brain chemicals going. Be sure to hide the toy for several seconds behind some furniture (making flopping and scurrying sounds) before presenting it again. If you’re like most cat owners, chances are you’ve looked under the sofa or refrigerator only to find a stockpile of cat toys from yesteryear. What most cat owners don’t know is that cats often bat them out of reach on purpose to create this feel good experience. Your cat’s menacing stare is the beginning of the sequence, as he orients himself to the toy. Watch him stalk or chase it…the stalk or chase may be brief. Then, depending on your cat, he may assault the toy immediately, biting into it, or he may signal an impending attack by wiggling his behind. After grabbing and biting, many cats will play with their “prey” by purposely releasing it, repeating the stalk-and-chase and grab-and-bite steps over and over again. Let your cat repeat this stalk, chase, bite, and release scenario over and over again and let the “prey” slowly die just like it would out in nature. Don’t make the game impossible or too easy for your feline family member. Let him decide how many stalks, chases, grab-and-bites, etc. he needs.
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You may also witness something that looks like the Kill Bite. That’s when your cat won’t want to let go of the toy and may even try to carry it off. Or he’ll roll onto his side and kick against the toy with his back legs while biting into it. Letting your cat “finish the kill” can be very satisfying and rewarding to him. I’ve seen cat owners frustrate their cat by stopping far too soon, putting the toy away mid-hunt when the cat is completely revved up to chase and grab over and over again as a cat would in the course of weakening real prey. I recommend at least one play session a day that lasts about 10 to 20 minutes, using an interactive wand toy. Some cats might do better with more frequent playtimes that are shorter in length—play around with time and duration to establish your cat’s particular preferences. In addition to interactive toys that you maneuver for your cat, it’s also important that you let him play on his own so he doesn’t become reliant on you to stimulate his prey drive every time. There are some great battery operated toys such as the Undercover Mouse and the Panic Mouse 360 and a wide variety of toys he can bat and chase by himself. Make sure your cat always has several toys out available to him. Rotate toys each week to help ensure the play environment doesn’t become mundane. It’s okay to offer cat food or treats after the playtime to further satiate your cat, but because eating and hunting are independently controlled behaviours, it’s not imperative to feed them afterwards. Remember that cats enjoy different types of toys, but they also enjoy different types of play. Variety and experimentation is the key to keeping kitties happy. Have fun! n
LITTER ONE is an eco-friendly, all-inclusive, disposable cat litter kit. Each kit includes: litter box, pine pellet litter, sides, false floor, a scoop, and 30 waste bags. Lasts 4-6 weeks. Litterone.com
Natural feline fun! PET TREE HOUSES are handcrafted indoor habitats made using real trees. From scratchers to giant Sequoias, these beautiful trees will bring out your cat’s true nature. 877-971-TREE or pettreehouses.com
A cat's gotta scratch! It’s part of their natural behaviour and removes the outer layer of growing claws. Made of natural pine, the CATSCRATCH BOARD is durable, environmental friendly, and mess-free. woofcenter.com
The TABBY TAMER simulates the “scruffing” technique often used when caring for cats, freeing up your hands. Makes trimming nails, combing out mats or even administering medications a breeze! realinnovators.com
MEOW FAB FINDS FOR THE FELINE IN YOUR LIFE
This cozy home-on-wheels from ZUCA transports your furry friends with comfort and peace of mind. And the frame doubles as a mobile seat for you! 10% off with code: CAT0914. Ends 03/31/15. zuca.com
CHESHIRE & WAIN luxury cat collars are made in England using the finest leather and incorporating a discreet breakaway buckle. A unique, safe, stylish choice, available in a range of bold colours! cheshireandwain.com CATTINOâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;nice enough for your living room! Includes a replaceable scratch pad and your style choice of hammocks for cat perching and napping. Save 20% using code "moderncat14" at etsy.com/shop/Cattino!
ZEN CLIPPER has a conical blade that only allows a limited amount of the nail to be clipped so you clip the tip, not the quick! For cats, birds and other small animals. $20, zenclipper.com
Express how you feel about your cat with these kitty-tastic tees from SHAGGY CHIC! These original designs will add a splash of whimsy to your wardrobe. Proceeds benefit rescue groups. ShaggyChicApparel.com
This adorable toy is designed to look like a smaller version of the popular SNUGGLEKITTIES and provides warmth and comfort for your pet. Simply microwave the heat pack and place inside! SnugglePetProducts.com
MADE BY CLEO offers a refreshing variety of gorgeous, quality pet collars for cats and little dogs, available in four sizes. Need tags? Get an engraved ID tag with your order! MadeByCleo.com
SUPERCAT PLUSH toys are fun characters sized just for cats! Each two-pack of toys includes a mini sprayer of SuperCat Catnip Spray to entice cats to play! supercatproducts.com
A CAT'S MAP OF HIDDEN DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
E S S! C C U S
All stars align: Litter box gold!
Litter box relocated: Ack!
Switched litter type!
Sharing is caring? Not always!
New roommate! Disagreeable
Litter Box Blues 10 Reasons Why Your Cat’s Having “Accidents” By Steve Duno
fter a perfect record for years, your cat stops using her litter box and begins leaving presents in potted plants and closets, beneath furniture—everywhere except where she should. What’s going on? Though it may seem like a mystery to you, this frustrating turn of events usually makes sense to your cat, who, though instinctively inclined to bury her waste, may stop doing so if any unexpected change in litter box protocol occurs. Like it or not, change can cause stress and alter her behaviour.
LOOK TO THE LITTER BOX More often than not, the problem is right in front of you. Some change in the litter box itself, though not immediately obvious to you, may have upset your feline. She’s still relieving herself—just not where you want. Let’s take a look at the ten most common reasons your cat might stop using her litter box and what you can do to correct the problem. Often just a slight adjustment by you can put her back on track and restore normalcy to the home.
1. Dirty Litter As basic as this sounds, it is often simply a matter of keeping the litter clean, as defined by your cat’s standards. Some cats won’t mind using a litter box with a moderate amount of waste in it, while others won’t go near a box that’s been used even once. If you have gone too long between cleanings, your wayward cat may be trying to tell you to scoop or change the litter out completely. This issue often happens when, for some reason—vacation, working late, illness—you fall behind on your cleaning regimen. To set things right, simply change out the litter and then increase your scooping frequency.
2. Change of Litter You know how wedded to routine your cat is. Change anything, and you run the risk of provoking a housetraining issue. Cat lovers who on a whim try a new brand of litter run this risk. A new type of litter smells, looks, and feels different to your cat who, happy with the status quo, does not want to change. No matter how enticing the marketing or how appealing the product may seem to you, it’s your cat who will decide what works and what doesn’t. If you have changed litter brands recently, think back; did the misbehaviour begin around that time? If so, go back to your old brand and see if that solves the problem. If you must change brands for some reason, do so gradually, a bit at a time over at least two or three weeks, just as you would with a change in food.
3. To Cover or Not to Cover? Applying your own sense of privacy to your cat might be a big mistake. In thinking a cat may want to be concealed while using the toilet, some people install a cover over the box, only to discover that the cat has begun to avoid this new “sanctuary.” Truth is, cats used to an uncovered box will often find a new cover confining or even threatening. While inside, she may feel vulnerable due to an inability to see what’s going on. Remember that in the wild, felines are most at risk from predators while eliminating; they need to see if that wolf, bear or crocodile is sneaking up! Plus, covers trap in odours, doubling the odds that your cat will object. If you’ve recently placed a cover on the litter box, remove it pronto and see what happens.
4. One Size Does Not Fit All A litter box that feels too large or too small to a cat might dissuade her from feeling comfortable using it. Too small and she might feel cramped, or sense that there’s not enough litter to effectively bury the waste. Too large and waste buildup and odour could turn her off. If the lip is too high, especially for older cats with arthritis, she won’t be able to comfortably get in.
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Opt for a litter box at least one-and-a-half to two times her length and at least as wide as she is long. Many boxes available in pet stores are smaller than this, so be sure to shop carefully. Avoid boxes with entries higher than four inches, especially for an older cat.
5. Find Your Own Toilet! Most cats would rather not share a litter box. It simply goes against their instinctive desire to eliminate secretively and to hide waste from both predators and competitors. Yet in many multiple-cat homes, one often finds a single overworked, malodorous litter box. And, more often than not, these homes will have at least one cat eliminating somewhere outside of the box. Always have at least one litter box per cat. Locate them in separate areas to ensure privacy and to maintain territorial détente. Keep them in those same spots, instead of shifting them around randomly. Watch who uses which box; cats often prefer to “adopt” their own. Then, maintain the territorial peace by not moving the boxes.
6. Privacy, Please! Cats want to eliminate in a quiet, sheltered area and not in the middle of a busy, high-traffic part of your home. Place a litter box in a hallway or in a room with lots of activity, and your cat may avoid it and look for quieter environs. Instead, choose a laundry room, guest bathroom, or some other out-of-the-way spot, and then leave it there. Be sure that it isn’t close to a noisy furnace, or frequently used washing machines or dryers, as the clamor and heat from these could spook your cat.
7. Fill Her Up! When a litter box doesn’t contain enough litter, your cat won’t be able to properly bury her waste. Odour will build up, eventually causing her to look elsewhere. To prevent this, be sure to keep about two to three inches of evenly spread, clean litter in the box. Avoid more than three inches of litter, as this can create a less stable feel for the cat and can get litter on her legs and belly, something she will not like at all.
Blame can’t always be laid on the litter box. Sometimes just a simple change in the home environment can throw your cat into a tizzy.
8. Moving Targets In preparation for a friend’s visit, you temporarily move your cat’s litter box from the upstairs guest bathroom to the laundry room downstairs. You carry her down there and show her where it is; she sniffs at it then walks out. Upon coming home from work that evening, you find an unholy mess in the guest bathroom, where the box used to be. Guess who goofed? Most cats are creatures of ritual and habit and, as such, don’t want their litter boxes moved. Unless absolutely necessary keep her litter box in the same spot. If a move is needed, do so very gradually, over a week or more. Move it to the other side of the room, then into the hallway, then farther down the hall, until you ultimately get the box to the new location. If you move to another home, this dramatic change in territory will stress your cat, resulting in possible housetraining slip-ups. To minimize this, keep her in one room of the new home for a few days with her food and water dishes on one side and her old litter box on the other. Set up another litter box in an appropriate spot in the home then gradually give her freedom to explore. To make the new territory more comforting, spread her scent by rubbing a soft cloth on her face, and then wiping it onto spots around the new place—carpets, walls, and even in front of the new box. Be sure to spread her toys around, too. Eventually you can locate the old litter box wherever you’d like it, while keeping the second box and moving it somewhere else. It may take time, but eventually she will accommodate to the new digs, and enjoy having that second bathroom! (If possible, it’s always advisable to have two litter boxes for one cat.)
9. Traumatic Associations Even if your cat’s litter box is clean and happily used for years, a traumatic event occurring while she is in or near it can convince her to stop using it. An interruption by a dog or another cat, something falling onto her from a shelf above, a loud noise, a flood from a washing machine—nearly anything can sour her on using that litter box again. Even a bout of constipation or painful bowel movement can be associated with the box and the room itself. To prevent this, locate litter boxes in quiet, safe areas, with no chance of dog intrusions, falling objects or other potential traumas. Be sure children in the home know to leave the cat alone while she eliminates. In a multiple-cat home, provide a box for each cat, to lessen cat-on-cat spats near or in the litter box. If your cat has experienced trauma near the box and won’t use
it, try relocating it to the opposite end of the home. If need be, purchase a new, slightly different style of box and place it in that new spot.
10. Sick Leave Any time a cat gets sick, her elimination habits can suffer. Urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cystitis, viral, bacterial or amoebic infections, or a host of other medical conditions can cause your cat’s litter box habits to go south. To prevent this, get her an annual checkup with your veterinarian and feed the best food possible; a quality wet food is preferable to dry, not only for its abundance of meat protein and minimal carbohydrates, but for its high moisture content, essential for proper elimination. And if your cat begins to show signs of illness—lethargy, loss of appetite, loose stool, excess vocalizations—visit the veterinarian to head off major health issues before they begin to affect her elimination habits.
WHEN IT’S NOT THE BOX Blame can’t always be laid on the litter box. Sometimes just a simple change in the home environment can throw your cat into a tizzy, and cause an interruption in good housetraining skills. For instance, a rearrangement of furniture can upset a sensitive cat, and cause accidents. Even bringing in a new sofa or chair, with its new smells, can do it. A new addition to the family in the form of a baby, long-term visitor, or new roommate can often confuse and worry a cat, resulting in (you guessed it) accidents. Temporary construction noises coming from the outside can upset, as can something as simple as a new coat of indoor paint or a change in perfume or antiperspirant by you or another person in the home. The introduction of a new cat or dog to the home will almost certainly create temporary housetraining havoc, too, so think hard about it before you add a new face to the mix. Luckily, unlike changes to the litter box, these types of territorial changes will usually have only a temporary affect on your cat’s habits. Given time, she will most likely get back to her normal routines once her suspicions ebb and she comes to accept the new situation. Just be sure to introduce change gradually, instead of all at once. By better understanding your cat’s intimate connection with her litter box and by endeavouring to maintain the status quo if you have a routine that’s working, you will prevent unexpected elimination habits before they begin. You’ll keep things “in the box,” and ensure a happy, tidy cat for years to come. n
What can people learn from cats?
“To enjoy simple things. Be in the moment. To be a tree climber and not a ground dweller.”
Nala’s Favourite Pastime: Napping Nicknames: “Fatty” in Thai
THE NEXT "IT" CAT
Hanging with Celebrity Cat Nala By Rose Frosek
Photographed by Lisa Scarsi
rom “just another kitten” in an overcrowded shelter to a budding internet superstar, our cover cat Nala shows that a rocky start can be overcome by lots of love—and an Instagram account filled with loads of cute cat photos! On a fateful day in 2010, Varisiri Methachittiphan, or Pookie, as she prefers to go by, walked into the Castaic animal shelter in northern Los Angeles—just to look—and walked out with the five-month-old Siamese/Tabby cross she would come to call Nala. “She licked my face,” Pookie recounts, “and I knew she was the one I was going to take home.” “Back then Nala was still a little kitten, all alone in a big cage,” Pookie recounts. “It’s really sad to see…that’s why I believe promoting adoption is so important. I brought her home, and the rest is history.” Pookie started posting photos of her new kitten to Instagram and, day by day, watched as the people following Nala’s account ticked—and then lept—upwards. Today, Nala has a nearly 1.5 million Instagram followers, a number Pookie herself can’t account for: “I'm not exactly sure how it started, but I know it definitely has something to do with how cute she is!” Fans come for the cute cat photos but take away a pro-adoption message. Pookie and Nala work closely with Kitten Rescue and Focus on Feral, among others, and each month donate a minimum of 10 percent of profits from the line of merchandise Pookie has developed— which includes super-cute silk scarves and iPhone cases—in support of rescue work. Ask Pookie what’s special about Nala and you get an interesting answer: “She is cute but her face is normal; she's a little chubby, but a lot of cats are...” In other words, Nala is special because of the relationship she and Pookie share. Everyone can find their own Nala Cat—at their local shelter of course. “It’s important for people to adopt,” Pookie notes, “because it allows for the animal shelters to help other animals. In reality, not all animals can find homes and when the animal shelters can no longer take care of them, the sad truth is [animals] are put down. By adopting, you are saving a life!” n
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Give your cat a cute and comfy place to sleep. The Cat Canoe from CatBall is ideal for snuggling up in and having a good nap. If your cat likes to be hugged into a cozy oblong shape, this bed will prove perfection! $30, thecatball.com
Provide a new place to hang out with the Buddha Perch from Square Cat Habitat. This perfectly minimal wallmounted perch can hold up to 40 pounds. Your cat will love having a spot just for him! $75-$105, squarecathabitat.com
STYLE AT HOME
A house is not a home without a cat The Kittyblock is a dream for any boxloving cat! Your cat can scratch and lounge on it to his heartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s content. It has 8 corrugated surfaces, so it can take a lot of wear and tear, but when it can take no more, simply put it out with the recycling! $59, mykittyblock.com
Miglio Designs combines style and function to make amazing cat scratchers. The Doppio is a beautiful lounge and scratcher that has been hand polished to a super soft finish. Your cat will not be able to resist scratching, playing, and lounging on this piece. $44, migliodesign.com or amazon.com
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Whiskers are very sensitive and it is uncomfortable to have them pressed up against bowl sides at mealtime. Bowls like this one are ideal for keeping your cat dining happily. $52, trendypet.com
THE CAT CAME BACK By Suzanne Beecher
t was Blaize on the phone. She was calling from the Hospice House. Blaize and I had been friends for years, ever since I interviewed her about the Dixie Hemingway Mystery series she published. Her books were about a pet sitter who took care of cats when folks were out of town, and the pet sitter sleuth never failed to discover an intriguing mystery during her daily rounds. “I know you're coming to visit me this afternoon, Suzanne,”— I'd never heard Blaize so excited—“but I just had to call to tell you something. I saw Rudy.” The staff at the Hospice House had seen a white cat running through the halls, but when they tried to catch him, the cat would disappear around the corner. So a nurse made the rounds asking every patient if they had a white cat. Blaize said she didn't own a cat, but she knew a white cat. “I told them it must be Rudy, your cat. And, Suzanne, it is Rudy. I saw him—he was sitting in a chair across the hall from me. I saw Rudy!” Well that was a shocker, especially since Rudy, my 25 year-oldcat, had died six months earlier. Blaize was in the final stages of colon cancer and I assumed the doctor had given her some really strong pain medicine. So I didn't question her about seeing Rudy. Every day when I'd go to visit Blaize, it didn't feel like I was visiting someone who was dying. Instead I'd treat the visit as if I were just stopping by for coffee and a chat. I'd bring along sweaters I'd found shopping and do a little style show and I'd always bring some homemade baked goods or deviled eggs—her favou-
rite. My 16-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, was visiting so she helped me make the deviled eggs and asked if she could go along. On the way to the Hospice House I told Bailey about the phone call and explained to her that Blaize was probably hallucinating from her pain medicine. I didn't mention the Rudy sighting to Blaize while we were visiting and she didn't mention it either until Bailey and I were getting ready to leave. “When you go, be sure to look in the room at the end of the hall. If the door is open you'll probably see Rudy sitting in the chair. I feel so blessed that Rudy has come to be with me.” I looked over at Blaize's son, who was sitting in the room, expecting him to give me a look of confirmation that his mother was imagining things. But he didn't. “Yes,” he said, “It's true! I've seen Rudy myself.” It was too strange to even ask Blaize or her son all the questions running through my mind. Does the person in the room at the end of the hall see Rudy? Don't they think it's strange that a cat they don't know, a cat who died six months ago, is sitting in a chair in their room? If the patient gets company and they need the chair, does Rudy gracefully hop down and offer his seat? Why isn't the staff buzzing, talking about the dead cat who's walking the halls of the Hospice House? Why isn't a reporter here writing a story for the 6 o'clock news? Am I the only one who feels like they're in The Twilight Zone? But I didn't say any of those things because it was apparent that Rudy coming to spend time with Blaize meant a lot to her and was bringing her a sense of peace.
Well that was a shocker, especially since Rudy, my 25-year-old cat, had died six months earlier.
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So my granddaughter and I simply said goodbye. But when we were standing in the hallway, I did turn and look towards the room at the end of the hall, and there was Rudy sitting in the chair. “Holy Cat,” I whispered to my granddaughter. Chills went through my body. I put my hand up to cover my mouth and quietly whispered, “Bailey, turn and look towards the room at the end of the hall.” Bailey saw Rudy, too. She looked at me, I looked at Bailey, and we were frozen in the middle of the hallway. We looked again and again and again. Brave Bailey started walking towards the room, but I stopped her; you can't just walk into somebody's room. It all felt too bizarre. We walked out of the Hospice House and sat in the car unable to say much of anything. I saw Rudy; Bailey saw Rudy. We were stunned and it took awhile before I felt calm enough to drive home. When my husband and I adopted Rudy from the shelter, he was there because someone left him alone in their apartment when they moved. So it doesn't surprise me that Rudy wanted to make sure Blaize didn't feel alone as she was preparing to move on. Thank you, Rudy, for bringing such peace to my friend. n
Besides being a talented author, Suzanne Beecher is behind ShelterWishList.com, an initiative designed to help animal shelters get what they need, be it donations of supplies or volunteers. Our kind of lady!
: NING WAR ME E EXTR SS! NE CUTE
Brothers from another mother. Two of the refuge's kittens cuddle with a rescued baby skunk.
The Most Magical Place on Earth?
It just might be the Rocky Ridge Refuge, home to a veritable Noah’s ark of rescued animals
t looks like one of the most magical places on earth, and it very likely is. The Rocky Ridge Refuge, located in northern Arkansas, is a sanctuary for special needs animals of all kinds, a place where cats, raccoons, piglets—you name it—cohabitate and heal. Since childhood, founder Janice Wolf dreamed of creating just such a place and the reality has not fallen short of her schoolgirl fantasy. Janice creates a “group home” environment for abused, neglected, and sick animals of all size, stripe, and type, allowing them to peacefully rehabilitate. She helps along their healing process and, eventually, finds them forever homes, Janice’s animals are rehomed once they have made a full recovery, at which point she brings in another to take its place. At any given time, Janice nurtures 50 to 60 animals both exotic and common. Just some of the animals she has had in her care include capybaras, dogs, chicks, sheep, deer—even an African Watusi steer named Lurch. Janice encourages the animals to intermingle and learn from each other, resulting in some of the cutest photos of animals hanging out we have ever seen. Enjoy!
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We need to talk...
13 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know By Lauren Cheal and Taryn Cheal
1 Just because I am purring doesn’t mean I’m happy.
Purring can signify contentedness, but it can also mean your cat is in pain, nervous or is just trying to manipulate you into feeding him. Kelly Morgan, DVM, clinical instructor at the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine in Chicago, likens it to smiling. People smile when they’re happy, but also when they’re uncomfortable or when they want something. Likewise, purring can indicate a variety of internal states.
2 I get a lot of my moisture from food. Cats don’t have the same drive to hydrate themselves as other animals because their wild ancestors got the majority of their liquid through their food. To make sure your cat is adequately hydrated—a challenge, to be sure—have them eat their liquids: serve them wet food and high-water-content frozen treats, such as ice cubes made from no-salt beef stock. (Of course, make sure plenty of fresh clean water is always available.)
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If your cat is meowing, pay attention. He’s trying to tell you something.
6 My teeth need to be cleaned. Dental health is as important for your cat as it is for you. You need to make sure you are cleaning your cat’s teeth on a reg-
3 I’m meowing at you, human. Kittens meow for their mother’s attention, but adult cats rarely use meows to communicate with other cats—which means if your cat is meowing, pay attention. He’s trying to tell you something.
4 I’m better indoors. Cats are historically wild, outdoor animals, but with domestication and industrialization, cats are much safer indoors. As caretakers, our charge is to provide the stimulation our cats would get in the outdoors, but in a safe environment. It can be done! For nifty enrichment ideas to entertain your indoor cat, go to moderncat.com/indoorenrichment.
5 I’m not as hungry
as I tell you I am.
Cats are amazing at pretending to be hungrier than they are. They know they have you wrapped around their little paws; experience has taught them that. But where food is concerned, your devotion to indulging their wants is not in their favour. According to the Association
ular basis. Yes, this means brushing your cat’s teeth. No, this is not fun but it is necessary—and will very likely save you money on vet bills in the long run. Regardless of what type of diet your cat’s on, veterinarian Dr. Loridawn Gordon also recommends feeding your cat raw chicken necks. It’s a great way to allow your cat to not only clean her teeth but get some natural calcium as well. (Never feed your cat cooked bones. They'll become brittle and can cause serious injuries when ingested.) For more ways to naturally keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy, check out moderncat.com/healthyteeth
7 I look at you and I see a useless cat.
According to anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw, author of the fascinating new book Cat Sense, cats view humans as large, useless cats, not another species, and thus
will treat you as such. They want to help feed you and bathe you because your cat skills are frightfully inadequate. (Plus, they love you and want to take care of you and they show you that by bringing you dead animals sometimes.)
for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50 percent of U.S. cats
8 I need mostly meat.
are obese or overweight; that’s over 47 million fat cats—and
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need have to have
they’re not feeding themselves. Despite overweight cats
meat in their daily diet. They require more protein and far
becoming the norm, feline obesity is no joke. It can cause
fewer carbohydrates than omnivores. Our domesticated cats’
diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer. Consult your vet in determining proper amounts of food to feed and stick to your guns.
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wild predecessors got most of their grains and carbohydrates from the digestive systems of the animals they ate.
Cats are naturally inclined to climb and perch up high in order to survey their territory.
9 I love a good timeshare opportunity.
In the wild, cats are solitary animals, but consent to share their territory, rather than dominate it fully; they will allow other cats to come into their claimed territory as long as they are not currently occupying that space. In a multi-cat home without territory disputes, the cats have figured out the times that they are allowed to be in certain spots, perhaps mornings in a favoured window perch before swapping for afternoons in a easy chair. If there are territory squabbles in
bm I need vertical space to explore.
Cats are naturally inclined to climb and perch up high in order to survey their territory. Make sure your cat has a perch of some sort or, ideally, an elevated walkway or series of perches that allows her to survey her domain from on high. If you live in a smaller space like an apartment, having vertical space for your cat to climb and explore becomes particularly important.
bn I don’t just like to scratch, I need to.
bl Just because
(And I’m definitely not trying to ruin your stuff.) Cats need a proper scratching post. As the Humane Society of the United States notes, the purpose behind scratching is multifold: cats scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent (they have scent glands on their paws), and to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws. They scratch when they’re excited, like when you come home from work, after naps, and to claim their space. Fail to provide an approved-by-you outlet for this natural and necessary behaviour and your cat will find somewhere else to exercise this instinctive action—like your couch. If your cat is still scratching on furniture when you’ve provided a scratching post, try moving the post’s location, play with your cat on it, and shower her with praise when she
The most vulnerable
does it right.
place on a cat is her soft tummy. She might show it
bo I have psychedelic super vision.
to you—lucky you; that’s a sign
Cats have very sensitive eyes that can actually see the UV
a cat is content and feels safe enough to
spectrum. Their super-vision opens up to them a wild world of sights and patterns humans can’t see, like psychedelic stripes on plant life and intricate colourations on feathers, perhaps explaining why cats get so fixated on things that, to us, seem utterly pedestrian. Some of the things they see that we can’t? Along with patterns on animals and plants,
your multi-cat home, chances are there is a shortage of desirable hang-out spots. If, for example, there is discord over who sleeps on your bed in the evening, try adding a cat tree with a perch to your bedroom. The addition of a new sleeping spot, particularly one at a different eye-level, can eliminate discord.
I am showing you my tummy doesn’t mean I want you to touch it.
relax in your presence—but doing so is not necessarily an invitation to dive right in. Respect every cat’s personal space requirements—they vary—and if you do go in for a tummy rub, approach with caution or you might find yourself victim of some fast paw action.
they also see great fields of urine markers left by animals—so maybe it’s fortunate we don’t share this super sight! n
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Feed your cat her wet food at the temperature she wants it! In the wild she would eat warm food. The Animal’s Instinct Pet Food Warmer keeps unopened cans of food just the right warmth—without cooking the food—for optimal taste and enjoyment! animalsinstinct.com
Nekochan’s Neko Birbug toy glides through the air, getting your hunting cat’s senses going wild! If your cat likes to chase bugs or watch birds, she will love playing with this toy! (Toy, $14; rod, $35), nekoflies.com
YOUR INSTINCTUAL CAT Finds to tickle your cat's fancy
The Catit dental chew toy helps to remove plaque while your cat plays and chews. While you still need to brush your cat’s teeth, it's helpful to have an adorable aid in the process. hagen.com
Jackson Galaxy and Petmate have joined forces to create a line of products your cat will go crazy for. Case in point? This collapsible tunnel that encourages stalking. Your cat will love being able to zoom, groom, and snooze with added shelter and security. Check it out on Youtube: youtu.be/5mKGt-kRM64
Nina Ottosson, maker of super-cool smart pet toys, has another hit on her hands with the MixMax Puzzle for cats. This activity game for cats lets you hide treats and have your cat figure out how to find them, exercising her brain while entertaining her. You decide how difficult it will be; there are endless possibilities, from easy to advanced. nina-ottosson.com
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Get your cat up and hunting with Pioneer Pet’s Tiger Mobile! This interactive toy will entice and delight your cat and keep him moving (even if you aren’t). Just hang it off of a door handle and let your little tiger have at it! pioneerpet.com
Get to know these small wild cats (they have a lot in common with the feline you share your couch with) before it’s too late By Jeanne Bergman
Only a few of the world’s 38 wild cat species are majestic predators who dominate their landscapes, like tigers and lions. Most are as small as house cats and seldom seen even by the conservation scientists who study them. Small wild cats are now mainly found in remote locations like the Tibetan Plateau, the Mongolian steppe, Asian rainforests, and the arid regions of Arabia, Africa, and the Andes. Many are keystone species that, despite their small size and low numbers, are critical to balanced ecosystems. Each cat species has evolved to adapt to its habitat, developing a unique set of characteristics that enable it to thrive. But now their survival is threatened by habitat destruction, poaching, and the wild pet trade.
The Andean Cat is indigenous to the high Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Northern Argentina, and Chile. An endangered species, it is the most threatened cat in the Americas, and among the rarest and least known in the world. Nicolás Lagos Silva, a researcher at the University of Chile, says that he had “always wondered what creatures could survive in the harsh, arid environments of the magnificent Andes, where we humans can barely breathe the thin air. But the Andean cat and other phenomenal creatures live there.” The Andean cat keeps warm by wrapping its furry tail, twice as long as its body, around itself. One of the top predators in a very fragile ecosystem, its protection is critical not only for its own survival but also for the biodiversity of the high Andres. Now, livestock grazing, mining, and unregulated tourism threaten its existence. Lagos Silva reports that he has been researching the Andean cat since 2007, and he has yet to see one in the wild. The world’s small cats are at risk of disappearing before we even know enough about them to protect them. Lovers of small cats, both wild and domestic, can help save these rare species by donating to the Small Cat Action Fund, a conservation research program co-sponsored by the International Society for Endangered Cats (wildcatconservation.org) and Panthera (panthera.org/donate/SCAF), and by discouraging the trade in wild cats and hybrids as pets.
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B L A C K F O O T E D C A T P H O T O C O U R T E S Y A L E X S L I W A ©; S A N D C A T P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F E D W I N G I E S B E R S ©; F L A T - H E A D E D C A T P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F J I M S A N D E R S O N ©; A N D E A N C A T P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F A N T O N I O N U Ñ E Z L E M O S ©
ENCHANTING & ENDANGERED
The little sand cat of North Africa and southcentral Asia is also a desert species, but with a completely different personality. With its thick, insulating coat and matted fur on its feet to protect it from burning sand, this cat is so well adapted to the remote desert environment that it rarely faces competition or threats. When approached, it just hunkers down in the sand. Unfortunately, the sand cat’s docile, sweet nature and cute appearance appeal to people who want wild cats as pets, and this illegal trade, along with habitat degradation, threatens its survival.
Black Footed Cat (wearing radio collar)
Harsh deserts are home to a few small cat species, such as the black footed cat. Alex Sliwa, a curator at Cologne Zoo in Germany, has studied the black footed cat in South Africa for 22 years. He says he’d never trade watching a lion or cheetah for this species, the smallest of the African cats, weighing only three to five pounds. “It’s the most fascinating cat,” he said, “with a very serious attitude to life. It’s highly strung, very active—a real handful.” Nocturnal, solitary, and alert, black footed cats are ready to hide or fight at any sign of danger. They can become accustomed to observation by researchers, but never tamed.
Most house cats avoid water, but a few wild cat species love it. Flat-headed cats are a small species found among the wetlands, lakes, and rivers of Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia. When threatened, they will dive into water rather than run into jungle. They have long snouts, uniquely close-set eyes, and, of course, flat heads. Their partially webbed toes help them swim efficiently, and their backward-pointed teeth allow them to grip the slippery fish and frogs that are their favourite foods. Once thought extinct, flat-headed cats are endangered because most of the wetlands that are their habitat are cleared for agriculture and other human purposes.
The International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada has been working for conservation of the 28 small wild cat species since 1990: find them at wildcatconservation.org. Panthera is the world’s leading wild cat conservation organization. Learn more about their conservation work on behalf of the world’s 38 wild cat species, big and small, at panthera.org.
Super-cute camp-inspired badges made for adorning everything from your sweater to a jar of treats
We created this awesome set of downloadable Scout-style badges that can be used in multiple ways, all to very cool effect. How? Use them on your cat's carrier or as a patch for your own sweater or to decorate a jar of homemade treats. Or use them simply as stickers on all and sundry in need of some pizzazz, like a package for a friend.
Get the download at moderncat.com/scoutbadge Once you've downloaded the artwork... them onto a sticky label sheet and cut them out to use ÆÆasPrintstickers on letters, gifts or on party-favour packages of candy or homemade cat biscuits Print them onto an iron-on transfer sheet (available at craft ÆÆstores) and iron transfer the print onto clothing For sewable badges, print them onto an iron-on transfer ÆÆsheet, iron that transfer onto white cloth then cut out and sew the badges onto whatever you’d like—backpacks, bandanas, you name it! The perfect touch of cat-inspired whimsy for your fall wardrobe!
▸Woof! We've made badges for people with dogs, too! Find them at moderndogmagazine.com/scoutshonour
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BODY & SOUL
Pumpkin, Your Cat’s Digestive Cure-all For a healthy cat at the right weight, simply adding a bit of pumpkin to one meal a day (not more than a tablespoon a day) can keep everything moving smoothly
Pumpkin is a miracle worker on a cat’s digestive system. Thanks to its very high fiber content, canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) is a great way to get your cat’s gastrointestinal system moving if he’s a bit stopped up. On the other end of things, if your cat has diarrhea, pumpkin will firm up your cat’s stool—the dietary fiber is very good at absorbing excess water. It also clears out fur from the digestive tract. When the pumpkin moves through your cat’s GI tract, it sweeps hair along with it, which lowers incidence of hairballs. If that wasn’t enough, pumpkin can also be used as a tool for weight loss. If your cat is overweight, replace 25 percent of her regular food with the same amount of pumpkin; it will leave her feeling just as full, but with far fewer calories consumed.
Ways to Incorporate Pumpkin into Your Cat’s Diet •
Look for high quality wet cat foods that contain pumpkin, like Weruva or Applaws
Mix plain canned pumpkin in with your cat’s wet food
Freeze tiny individual servings of pumpkin in the freezer and give them as treats
Fruitables original and weight loss formula supplements are a pet-specific alternative to regular canned pumpkin that has more vitamins as well as mint to help soothe an upset stomach
Castor and Pollux’s Natural Ultramix Real Pumpkin Ultrablend is designed for intermittent and supplemental feeding for a healthy digestive system
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Yes, this actually exists. And cats are crazy for it. Many of us struggle to provide ample exercise for our indoor cats, but perhaps no longer. Catswall has answered the cat owner’s prayer by making a cat exercise wheel! This is just what it sounds like—a big hamster wheel for your cat to run on. If you have an energetic cat or one who needs a little more of a work out, the CatWheel will give your cat the activity he craves. Use it in conjunction with a laser pointer for extra fun/motivation! $699, catswall.com
BODY & SOUL
Keep Calm and Carry On Do you have a stressed, anxious cat on your hands or conflict in your multi-cat household? Are you dealing with unwanted behaviour like scratching or marking? The solution could be as simple as getting a Feliway diffuser. Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. By diffusing your home with this safe, synthetic pheromone you promote a relaxed, happy vibe that can have transformative effects. The testimonials don’t lie! Check it out at feliway.com.
Cats Go Hungry Too PET FOOD DRIVE Ask your office manager or a local business if you can put out a box to collect donations of cat food for the local food bank. There are lots of struggling families short on food—and that includes their cats, too. For local businesses, independent pet stores are a great place to start and will definitely be sympathetic to your cause. Then just pick up the box after the specified period of time and drop it off at your local food bank. 58 moderncat
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Is it Safe to Feed My Cat Raw Eggs? This one is controversial. Most healthy adult cats are resistant to the e. coli and salmonella sometimes found in uncooked eggs, so the presence of bacteria poses no problem for most cats. However, the raw egg whites contain the protein avidin, which blocks the absorption of vitamin B in cats. This is not fatal, but can give them skin problems and dull the shine of their coats. Both of these potential problems can be avoided by cooking the eggs.
“Playing with your cat every day is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” —Jackson Galaxy
6 novel treats to tempt your cat
Did someone say treat?
Get snack-tastic! Creative, healthy treats for your cat By Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott Hint: start introducing little bits of extra treats when your cats are kittens. Kittens tend to be more adventurous, while cats are often a bit suspicious of new foods. If your cat is already an adult, fear not; you can still introduce new foods, it may just take a bit of perseverance. Experiment with a few different options and try offering them to your cat more than once before declaring the cat not a fan of a particular food.
1. Dried cranberries or cranberry powder These tart berries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Cranberry may be helpful for cats that are experiencing urinary problems as it can help adjust the pH of your cats urine to make it more acidic, but this isn’t good in all cases and should be discussed with your vet before making diet changes. Dried cranberries can be shared with healthy cats, but note that they are high in sugar so should be shared sparingly.
The fix for an upset stomach!
3. Chicken n’ Rice
2. Lean deli meats Lean deli meats such as turkey, chicken, and ham make an easy treat many cats love. Deli meats are sources of protein but they can be high in salt and fat, so be sure to choose low fat and low sodium brands. Other deli meat treat options include bacon or wieners, but because of the high calorie content of these choices it’s best to keep these as a special occasion treat.
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Cats are notorious for vomiting. The best way to deal with an upset system is usually to withhold food for a short period (not more than 12 hours) to give the stomach a chance to rest, then reintroduce an easy-on-thetummy food. A mixture of boiled rice and chicken is a good place to start. This bland combination is usually well tolerated. (If your cat is sick for an extended period of time or is vomiting frequently, head to the vet to make sure nothing serious is going on.)
4. Carrots These crunchy veggies are high in beta-carotene. Unlike most mammals, research indicates that cats donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t convert beta-carotene to vitamin A, but this doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean carrots are without feline health benefits. Carrots are high in fibre and low in calories, plus betacarotene has antioxidant properties which may be beneficial. Try steaming them before serving for increased palatability.
5. Canned tuna or salmon water The water that tuna or salmon is canned with does not have much nutritional value, but it still makes a great treat for cats, one that many felines love. Freeze the tuna/salmon water into ice cube trays to have on hand for treat time. (Choose unsalted water-packed tuna or salmon as opposed to broth or oil packed.)
6. Broccoli Another super food that is low in calories and high in beneficial nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and phytochemicals, broccoli can be either steamed or fed raw. As a member of the brassica family, broccoli may cause some stomach upset so start out sharing small amounts with your cats to make sure they can tolerate it.
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Your Lost Cat Action Plan: here’s what to do if your cat goes missing (hint: time is of the essence) By Jen Reeder
alifornia resident Angela Price panics when her cat Holiday goes missing—despite Price’s vigilance, the indoor cat somehow still manages to dart outdoors whenever opportunity presents itself. “We scour the house and the neighborhood and get hysterical that she’s gone, only to find her several hours later standing in the hallway looking at us like we’re crazy,” Price says. Many cat parents can relate to the fear of realizing their beloved pet is missing. And unfortunately, not all lost cats are found as quickly as Holiday. Knowing what to do if your cat is lost—and taking steps to prevent the situation—are key to finding a missing cat. “Searching for a lost cat is quite different from searching for a lost dog,” notes Nancy Peterson, cat programs manager at the Humane Society of the United States. While people searching for lost dogs are typically told to search shelters and post missing pet flyers, cats, in contrast, are often hiding in or near their home or where they escaped from their carrier. Immediately and aggressively searching their territory is key—starting in your home. “Look in the closets, look in cabinets—cats can open cabinets—look under blankets, under pillows,” Peterson says. “Know where your cat typically will go when he or she is frightened.” If the missing cat typically lives indoors and possibly escaped when a service person or guest opened the door (or if a screen is loose or open), the cat is usually hiding within a five-house radius of his home. Bring a flashlight and search under decks, porches, and bushes. Let your neighbours—children as well as adults—know your cat is missing and ask permission to search their yards. “Don’t ask your neighbour to look; you go look. Nobody is going to look as well as you’re going to look,” Peterson says. If the cat is still missing, set a humane trap with delicious food in a place your cat would feel safe, like near a bush or a deck, not out in the open. Traps can often be borrowed from a local shelter. Then keep an eye on it, either from a perch in your yard or, if the cat escaped its carrier near the veterinarian’s office, ask the staff for permission to set up camp there to observe the trap, if possible.
An indoor cat is usually hiding within a five-house radius of his home.
“It’s more likely that your cat will come out in the dark, at night, when it’s really quiet and they might feel a little safer,” she says. Safety concerns are a major reason why missing cats might not meow in response to calls from their owner. “The fact that your cat may not respond to you doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t love you, it just means your cat is probably scared at the moment. If a cat is scared, announcing their presence wouldn’t be a very smart thing for survival—there could be a predator, or the big bad electrician has come in,” she says. If you haven’t recovered your cat after the first evening, it’s time to call local animal shelters and veterinarians, place “lost pet” classified ads in the newspaper and online, and hang flyers. Flyers should be brief, with a photo of your cat, his or her name, where he or she was last seen, your phone number, and if there is a reward. They should be in waterproof sheets and posted at a level where someone walking or driving by would see them. Then when people call, keep a log record with their names, phone numbers, and where they think they saw your cat so you can figure out if you need to search a new area—a possibility if your cat was chased out of its territory by a dog. Searching for outdoor cats is “trickier,” according to Peterson, because their territory might be larger than five houses away. The main key to finding an outdoor cat is acting quickly; if they don’t come home when expected, such as dinnertime, they might be locked in a shed, or have been hit by a car and injured. So as soon as the cat doesn’t come home when she usually does, it’s time to start looking because time is of the essence, particularly if she is injured.
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“You have to assume something is wrong,” Peterson says. “Don’t just say, ‘I’ll wait until tomorrow’ … Cats are creatures of habit. So when something out of the ordinary happens, you have to assume that something has prevented your cat from coming home as he normally does.” When you and your cat are reunited, it’s important to let everyone know—shelters, veterinarians, neighbors, mail carriers—and thank them for their efforts. Then learn from the experience and take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “Prevention is the best medicine,” Peterson says. The most important step is to make sure your cat always wears a collar with visible identification, either engraved on a tag or embroidered into the collar. This is important for indoor as well as outdoor cats because indoor cats can and do get out of the house. “You just never know what could happen,” she says. Peterson says it’s also important to always take your pets with you if you have to evacuate, and to that end, train them to feel safe in their carrier (this also makes trips to the veterinarian more pleasant). “I would have the carrier out, maybe in a quiet place with a blanket, sometimes feed the cat in there, sometimes have treats appear in the carrier, put toys in the carrier,” Peterson says. Carriers should be part of a lost cat recovery kit, since frightened cats might try to scratch or jump out of their owner’s arms when they are first found. Other items to keep in a recovery kit include a flashlight, pens, paper, and recent photos of your cat. Peterson said the Humane Society strongly recommends that people make their cats indoor cats and provide stimulation indoors, such as play times to satisfy their hunting instincts. They should also be spayed or neutered to prevent wandering and other unwanted behaviour. As a back up, Peterson recommends microchipping your cat and keeping the contact information updated with the registry. A microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and when scanned by a shelter employee or veterinarian, identifies the pet, its owner and the owner’s home address and telephone numbers (it does not have GPS tracking capabilities). Kimberly May, DVM, MS, and assistant director in the communications division of the American Veterinary Medical Association,
Almost 75% of pets with microchips are reunited with their owners.
says almost 75 percent of pets with microchips are reunited with their owners—and reiterated that it’s crucial to keep contact information updated. While some pet owners have concerns that microchips might cause cancer in their animals, she says tumor growth associated with microchips is rare and considered to be low-risk. “A microchip dramatically increases the chances that you’ll get your beloved feline family member back in the event that he or she is lost, escapes outside, or is picked up by your local animal control as a stray, May says. “For many cat owners, the risk of cancer is far outweighed by the chances of a happy reunion due to a microchip.” Traci Moriarty started microchipping her pets after a happy reunion that occurred months after her orange Tabby, Star, disappeared. Moriarty and her husband had recently moved from a big city in California to a small town in Colorado when their indoor/ outdoor cat didn’t return for dinner. They searched the neighbourhood, put up flyers, alerted local shelters, and talked to neighbours—to no avail. When there were thunderstorms and howling coyotes, they feared the worst.
Luckily, Star had a current ID tag on her collar. After being lost for two months, a neighbour saw the little kitty, lured her closer with a can of tuna, picked her up and called Moriarty, who burst into tears and rushed to pick up Star—who lived another five years into old age. “She was a total city cat—she had no idea what all these wildlife things were,” Moriarty says. “But she did it. She came back. And she never got lost again.” n
Lost Cat Resources ÁÁ thecenterforlostpets.com ÁÁ humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/collars ÁÁ americanhumane.org ÁÁ catalystcouncil.org ÁÁ missingpetpartnership.org
STAR CAT WINNER
INJURED CAT INSPIRES PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD By Rose Frosek
Photographed by Lauren Kaplan
hen, last August, Maria Romano Trampé and her friend Beth Ashcom took in a stray cat with a very serious eye problem, they had no idea the phenomenal journey they were about to embark upon. They hustled the little cat with the gaping facial wound straight to the vet, where he was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, an aggressive cancer, and given just a few weeks to a month to live. Maria and Beth decided they would take Tyrone, as they named him, home and provide hospice care, so that when his time came he would leave this world with dignity and grace, having known he was loved. Tyrone, however, had other ideas. Though it was extremely touch and go for the first months, by November Maria and Beth started noticing a difference in Ty—it seemed he would react to the movement of a hand near his injured eye area. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? Two doctors had confirmed his eye was gone. Sure enough, he still had his eye—the wound had been so severe it was assumed Tyrone could not possibly have retained it—and furthermore, he could see out of it!
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“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” —Christopher Reeve At this point, Tyrone began a course of extremely potent antibiotic shots and ointment and began improving even more. The vet then biopsied the abnormal tissue and—the results were negative for cancer! Tyrone still has more healing to do, but with the stalwart love of Maria and Beth, Ty is back from death’s door. Certainly, this cat, one many would have given up on, has had extraordinary support. Maria and Beth started a Facebook page to bring awareness to special needs animals and Tyrone soon became a huge hit. They receive messages and letters regularly from people who say that Tyrone has inspired them not to give up. “Many who suffer from depression have stated that Tyrone’s posts are the bright spot in their day,” Maria shares. “We have also had many people battling serious health issues tell us that because of Tyrone’s tenacity and will, they feel they too have the strength to fight. Tyrone has thousands of fans that span the globe in 45 countries!” Maria and Beth were not immune to Tyrone’s inspiration either. Along with friend Amy Hamilton, they have formed a 501C nonprofit, All Souls Connected, in honour of Tyrone. Their mission is to provide educational programs to local communities and schools to educate youth, curtail animal abuse, and emphasize that special needs animals deserve the same respect and opportunity to live full lives as any other animal. They also provide TNR and rescue assistance. Quite the legacy for a cat that almost didn’t make it! Through it all Maria has remained adamant that Tyrone has given just as much to them as they’ve given to him. “Special needs animals can provide even more than a healthy animal,” she says. “They prove to their families on a daily basis that a disability is all in how you view it.” Her answer to our question “What lesson have you learned from your cat?” is succinct: “Never surrender.” n
›› If you would like to support their non-profit mission
of education and caring for animals, earth, and sky, go to allsoulsconnected.org. Big thanks to our super awesome Star Cat contest sponsor Cloud 9!
What better way to show your cat love than this adorable Love Me, Love My Cat Necklace from Mark Poulin? Perfect for everyday wear, this sterling silver necklace will add some cat-itude to your wardrobe! $32 - $42, markpoulin.com
Grow a treat for your cat! Pet Green’s Self Grow Pet Grass is easy to grow— simply add water and wait. Your cat will love eating this safe and healthy grass, especially if your cats is prone to hairballs (pet grass is great at aiding in digestion). $4, bellrockgrowers.com
Get awesome cat stuff delivered right to your door. Sign up for Meowbox and every month your cat will receive amazing treats, toys, food, and much more! We honestly can’t think of anything more fun. From $33/month, meowbox.com
Made By Cleo Breakaway cat collars come in an array of super cool patterns. Our current fave? The geometric “Bizarre Love Triangle” in its shades of mint and pink and peach. $16, madebycleo.com
Our current obsessions The horizontal Scratch Lounge is perfect for cats to lounge in, scratch on, and make their own. Made from 100% recycled materials, this does-it-all scratcher is a slam dunk! $25, scratchlounge.com
Short, sweet, and to the point, this hand screen-printed “I Like Cats” tee from Print Liberation let’s you show off your cat-love, loud and proud. A super-great gift for any of the cat people in your life, male or female. $24, printliberation.com
The Sleepypod Atom will be your cat’s home away from home. This carrier is comfortable, safe, and breathable, keeping your cat as comfortable as possible on a car or plane ride. Plus, it comes in amazing colours! $100, sleepypod.com
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Finally we can stop accessorizing with cat hair! Meet your new BFF: the amazing Lilly Brush effortlessly removes pet hair from all fabrics and the bristles are gentle even on delicate fabrics like cashmere. A must-have! $20, lillybrush.com
9 tips from photographer Grace Chon that will drastically improve your cat photos Ah, the quest for great photos of your cat, ones that capture just how adorable/goofy/sage/ busy/sleepy/loved she is. Your cat, needless to say, is super photogenic, but, if you’re like most of us, attempts to capture those good looks on camera are often bedeviled by poor lighting, a cluttered background, and blurred motion. We asked the super-talented Grace Chon, an LA-based animal, lifestyle, and celebrity photographer, for 9 tips to drastically improve your cat photos. Get ready to wow your Facebook and Instagram followers with some really cute shots!
a sickly yellow colour-cast to your images.”
breast. Always reward positive behaviour like sitting still or looking directly into the lens and give small morsels to keep the shoot fun and your cat motivated and engaged. Treats are great for controlling eye line too—hold it where you’d like your cat to be looking in the shot, and after a few frames pay your model for his hard work with a tasty bite. If you want your cat to look into the lens, hold the treat right above the camera lens. If you want him looking above or out of the frame, hold the treat where his eyes should be.”
2 Models Like to
3 A Meaningful Spot
1 Follow the Light
“Always shoot where you get the best light. Usually this ends up being with your cat facing a window, which I like to call ‘glamour lighting’ because your cat ends up being evenly lit in the front and the background can drop off into darkness. Natural light is always much more important than location! If your place is nice and bright, try to keep indoor lights off to avoid having
Eat. Really. If your cat
is food motivated, bring out his absolute favourite snacks, like dehydrated fish treats or boiled chicken
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“It’s always extra special if you can shoot in your cat’s favourite location. Maybe this is her favourite chair or usual perch at the window. Not only will she be happy and relaxed, you’ll capture moments that memorialize her in a place that’s special to you both.”
P H OTOS G R A CE CH O N
TAKE WAY BETTER PHOTOS OF YOUR CAT
4 Stage your Shot
“Home staging can make your photos look polished and professional. Be sure to de-clutter the background and bring in props like colourful pillows, a sheepskin rug or fresh flowers to create a shot that looks stylish and finished. You can add some extra whimsy by decorating with pennant banners, paper garlands, and confetti. It always helps to have some colour coordination, so if your cat’s collar or toys can coordinate with the decorations in your home, you’ll look like you had an art director help you get the shot.”
kiss and adore. Even shots of your cat’s bowls, collars, and toys will someday make a very special memory.”
7 Make Some Noise + Use Some Toys “To get shots of those adorable head tilts and perked up ears, try making some funny sounds to get your cat’s attention. The trick is to make each sound sparingly and move onto the next one once your cat grows tired of it because new sounds get old really fast. Other things you can use are crinkly paper bags, bells and wand toys to get your cat’s attention. You also can try playing him sounds of cats meowing or yowling. That always gets a cat’s attention, fast!
8 Shoot Fast and Furious
“Be sure to take
lots and lots of frames. That way you can be sure to capture a shot that’s in focus and with your cat looking where you want, doing what you want. And when you shoot a lot of
5 Use Props
“Add fun flair to your shots by using toys and other props. Get creative with things like a pair of 70s sunglasses or maybe a heart-shaped helium balloon tied to your cat’s collar. If sweet and silly isn’t your style, you can incorporate more meaningful props like your cat’s favourite toy, or select props that tell your cat’s story.”
6 Up Close and Personal
“Don’t forget to take detail shots! Shoot a close up of your cat’s nose or a close up of fur. Take a photo of her paw pads or the curves of velvety ears. Remember all the little details that make up your cat and photograph all the special places you love to
frames, you end up getting images that you never could have thought of shooting. Amazing moments happen in a fraction of a second!”
9 Change Your View
“Try seeing your cat from a completely different angle. Have them lounge on a chair and photograph them from below. Try laying down and shoot up at your cat. If you try to see their world from a completely different view, you’ll end up with creative and interesting shots that tell your cat’s story from an unusual perspective.” n
HOW I MET MY CAT By Lisa Evans
mee lola t !
fter suffering a miscarriage three months into my first pregnancy, my dreams of motherhood felt all but lost. I fell into a depression that left me unable to get out of bed before noon and unwilling to leave the house for anything other than the weekly grocery shop. Frustrated by my inability to move on, my partner suggested we see a psychologist to coax me out of my funk. We were on our way to the clinic when I noticed a tiny ball of fur sticking out behind a lamppost. I crouched down and stared into the green eyes of a very dirty, barely month old kitten. Her left eye was filled with blood and her fur was matted. With one tiny meow that sounded more like the noise a squeaky toy makes, my heart melted. I bent down to touch her but my partner grabbed my hand before it reached her orange and black fur and told me we had to get going or we’d be late for our appointment. I glanced back to see the kitten who had perked up to greet me sink down to the ground. The gesture replicated the feeling in my chest. Since losing my child, I’d felt an emptiness that nothing seemed able to fill. Was it my imagination that, for that split second, I’d felt my spirits lift? We’d walked three blocks already before I stopped. “I have to go back,” I said. “I have to get that kitten.” But when I went back to the lamppost, the ball of fur was no longer there. “She’s gone,” I cried. I couldn’t imagine where the kitten had disappeared. The corner was along a very busy street; if she’d tried to cross it, she’d no doubt be run over by a car. I looked around the block but saw nothing but cars and people. I turned around and continued on my way to my appointment when I saw a speck of orange. The kitten was laying in front a building that shaded her body! I bent down to examine her. Her left eye looked even worse than I’d previously thought. Just then, a man walked by and saw me crouched down stroking the white triangular spot on kitten’s head with my index finger. “It’s going to die,” he said. “You should just leave it.” Anger welled inside me as I glared up at him. He quickly backed away without saying another word.
I re-positioned my body to block anyone else from seeing the tiny suffering kitten. I wanted to protect her from any more negativity. For months I had stayed indoors, unwilling to let anyone see my suffering. It was as though I could feel what this kitten was feeling—wanting to hide from the pain, yet trying desperately to attract the attention of someone who could help her heal. Something told me I needed this kitten just as much as she needed me. I scooped her exhausted little body up into my arms and carried her to my apartment a half a block away. I may not have been able to save my baby from dying, but this kitten was my second chance to nurture a living being and there was no way I was going to let her down. I spent the evening washing the dirt off her fur and paws with a cotton ball and feeding her formula through an eyedropper. I bundled her in a towel and held her in my lap while we watched TV and found a cardboard box for her to sleep in beside my bed. I called my mother the next day and she commented on the change in my voice. “You sound happier today,” she said. When I told her about the kitten, whom I’d already named Lola, she understood. “There must have been some reason she was put in your path,” she said. I couldn’t have agreed more. Lola and I became inseparable. I worked from home so I was able to spend ample time getting to know her. She curled up in my lap while I worked and once she grew large enough to jump onto my desk, she lay beside my computer, her tiny head resting on my forearm as I typed. No matter where I was, she always wanted to be close. If I got up to go to the bathroom, Lola would be there when I opened the door. If I left the house for any period of time at all, even just to run to the grocery store across the street, Lola would run to the door at the sound of my approaching footsteps, her tail straight up in the air like a flag pole. I know nothing will ever replace the loss of my child but Lola returned a piece of me that had been lost. She healed the part that felt helpless. n
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From 67 Reasons Why Cats Are Better than Dogs by Jack Shepherd
Connieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and a good book
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CONNIE WILSONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SELECTION OF MUST-READS.
8 Titles to Pick Up Now Metal Cats By Alexandra Crockett In Metal Cats Alexandra Crockett highlights two often misunderstood subjects: cats and metal musicians. Her delightful, photo-packed book shows these often intimidating looking musicians as the softies they really are; these guys are really just suckers for their cats. Bonus: a portion of the proceeds go towards no-kill shelters!
Catification By Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin Want to make your home a stylish cat paradise? "Cat Daddy" Jackson Galaxy has paired with Kate Benjamin to bring you tips and tricks to making your home the perfect space for a cat while still keeping an eye attuned to design. An excellent guide to turning any sized space into a chic cat haven!
67 Reasons Why Cats Are Better than Dogs By Jack Shepherd This hilarious book from BuzzFeed's Editorial Director Jack Shepherd had us in stitches. You'd have to be a stone for the photographic "proof" offered not to put a smile on your face. It's the perfect pick me up for yourself or a great little gift for both cat and dog lovers. Be prepared to laugh!
A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends Created by Lisa Erspamer This heartwarming collection of letters written by celebrities to their cats compellingly shows the deep love we cat people have for our furry friends. Candid, honest, and moving (we shed a few tears), the letters are a touching look at the bonds we share with these amazing creatures.
Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals By Linda Bender From Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett, published by powerHouse Books
Panthers Play for Keeps By Clea Simon After finding a body that has evidently been mauled by a wild cat, Pru Marlowe finds herself getting deeper and deeper into the mystery of what happened to this young woman. Armed with her ability to communicate with animals, Pru gets input from her service dog intraining, Spot, and her curmudgeon of a cat, Wallis, and works to solve a savage mystery. Animal loving “cozy” fans will dig right in to this welcome installment in the Pru Marlowe pet noir series.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? 101 Amazing Stories of Magical Moments, Miracles and… Mischief By Amy Newmark Heartwarming, sweet, and humorous, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? offers a collection of cat tales guaranteed to delight. Our cats mean the world to us—quirks, mischievous tendencies, and all, and this book captures that, highlighting just how much we love our cats. If you’re like us, you’ll laugh, cry, and want to just give your cat a hug at the end.
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Animal advocate and veterinarian Linda Bender drew on a lifetime of experience to craft this beautiful and thoughtful exploration of the interconnectivity between people and the sentient creatures we share our world with. It’s a welcome reminder of what our animal friends can teach us, how we can better communicate with them, and the many ways they can change our lives for the better. This inspiring look at our relationships with animals—and how they deepen and enrich our lives—is filled with wonderful anecdotes that will keep you turning the pages. If you’re looking for a deeper, more spiritual connection to animals, this is the book for you.
Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors By Allen and Linda Anderson Learn more about the animals that enchant us on the big screen in Animal Stars. This book not only offers a look into the fascinating world of these talented animals, but also provides insights into their training and daily life, as well as their bonds with their celebrity costars who have fallen in love with them. Actors, directors, and trainers all weigh in with behind-the-scenes stories and highlights. n
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By Kim Smith
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