cat The lifestyle magazine for modern cats and their companions PREMIERE ISSUE
Secrets to Good Health p44
Publications Agreement Number 40743013 Return Mail Dept, 202–343 Railway St., Vancouver, BC V6A 1A4
Irresistible Cat Toys
MODERN DESIGN AT HOME
WHAT YOUR CAT REALLY WANTS
Cat People vs Dog People
Make It! Cool DIY Projects
Vintage Cat Posters
MEET THE RAGDOLL BLOGGING 101 FAMOUS CAT LOVERS TINY CONFESSIONS STUFF WE LOVE
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DISPLAY UNTIL MARCH 13
Plus Win it! We’re giving away tons of great stuff! page 24
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What Your Cat Really Wants Do right by your cat. Give her these essentials and you’ll both enjoy a long, loving partnership. BY STEVE DUNO
Cat People vs. Dog People Are there real personality differences? BY STANLEY COREN
Behind the Scenes: Meet the Cover Cat Meet this issue’s cover cat, the amazing Corky whose triumph over adversity (and his pretty darn amazing guardian Gail Ventzke) are nothing short of inspiring.
A Rare Vintage 20 Our new obsession? Vintage cat posters. BY ROSE FROSEK Cat Blogging 101 Seeking additional income, fame, and a home for all those great photos of your cat? Start that blog, already!
BY JESSICA NOSEK
Friends or Foes? How to keep the peace in a cat/dog household.
Dancing with the Cats Carrie Ann Inaba on the cats who danced their way into her heart. BY MARY-JO DIONNE
BY STEVE DUNO
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THE GOODS 40
Let’s Play! Your cat wants these toys.
Style: The Design Files Modern design at home.
BREED PROFILE The Ragdoll Meet this laid-back cat with a great disposition. BY TANYA KENEVICH
BODY AND SOUL 42
Back to the Future; Tapeworm Troubles; The Find
43 Pass the Grass; DIY Grow Op; True Carnivores; 44
Secrets to Good Feline Health Seven secrets to making an educated choice when choosing your cat’s food. BY ELIZABETH PASK AND LAURA SCOTT
Stuff We Love Modern Cat staffers’ picks of the litter.
The Scoop Cat news and reviews.
Tiny Confessions Deepest thoughts and secret admissions revealed! BY ROSE FROSEK
18 Meow! Modern Cat Photo Contest Winners Meet this issue’s selection of cuties.
We’re Giving It Away We’ve got months of groovy giveaways, from a mod litter box to elevated cat dining stations, just waiting to be won!
30 Meet the Maine Coon A North American original, back from near extinction. BY ROB SPOONER
REGULAR FEATURES 6 Editor’s Letter 8 Contributors 12 The Scoop 18 Meow! Photo Contest 76 Marketplace
COVER CAT Hailing from Fargo, ND is Corky the Cradle Cat, winner of our Modern Cat Cover Cat Contest with a whopping 39,000+ votes. The charismatic Corky is the face of non-profit cat rescue CATS Cradle. Photographed by Ria Czichotzki of Rialee Photography.
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DIY Craft Make it! A crafty cat project that uses recycled material? Now that’s the cat’s meow.
DIY Eat Homemade, organic chicken and catnip cat treats.
Art Attack With still life-honed technique and decorative backgrounds, Diane Hoeptner’s watercolour and colour pencil cats have us captivated.
Connie’s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and a good book. Editor-in- Chief Connie Wilson’s selection of must-reads.
Last Lick: Cat Woman Before you know it, you could end up at a Cats Anonymous Support Group Meeting.
BY NASTASHA SARTORE
BY SUZANNE BEECHER
I L LU ST R AT I O N CH R I STO P H E R R OZ Z I
PA I N T I N G D I A N E H O E PT N E R
am absolutely thrilled to be writing the Editor’s Letter for the premiere issue of Modern Cat magazine. It is a labour of love and I think we’re addressing a real hole in the market when it comes to providing cool, smart, and good looking cat-focused editorial. Modern Cat actually began life years ago when we registered moderncat.com and moderncatmagazine.com way back in 2004/2005, and debuted with a section within Modern Dog magazine beginning with the Fall 04 issue with Regis and Kelly on the cover (Regis is a devoted cat lover). So it’s beyond exciting to see Modern Cat as a magazine of its own where we have the space to present even more finds, fun, tips, enthusiasms—in short, all the best on offer for cats and their people. Woohoo! What I’m most excited about, though, is the community we are building, one of like-minded individuals united in their love of cats and their desire to return the happiness and joy their felines give them. It’s wonderful to be able to offer a platform for the sharing of advice and knowledge, as well as for animal advocacy. A big part of Modern Cat’s mission is to support rescue and I’m so pleased we’ll be able to use our combined voices to influence positive change, promoting the adoption option, finding “furever” homes for shelter cats, and encouraging spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted or unplanned for cats ending up in the shelter system. Our collective support helps animal shelters receive funding and the much-needed backing of the communities they work within. One organization deserving of a shout out is the “no-kill” Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) that operates two shelters in Richmond, BC, one of which houses North America’s largest cat sanctuary and sits on six acres of serene, suburban farmland. “Cat paradise” may not be
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overstating things. It provides a home to more than 200 cats. The shelter is maintained by around 100 dedicated volunteers and is funded primarily by private donations and through the earnings of their thrift store. My photo on this page was taken with an adorable RAPS City Shelter kitten named Henley who is up for adoption (for more info go to rapsociety.com). So, here’s what to expect from Modern Cat: the best ideas and solutions for a life with cats. Get ready to be inspired. We’re rounding up the very latest and greatest of what’s new in the cat world, from cool finds to must-haves; health and wellness; tips and recipes; DIY projects; inspired and inspiring design; breed profiles; behavioural advice; exclusive interviews with cat-loving stars, designers, and rescuers; giveaways; contests; and much, much more! When you consider the place our cats hold in our hearts and households, Modern Cat magazine is a natural. In this issue we get to know the Ragdoll, figure out what it is that your cat really wants, explore the differences between cat people and dog people (yes, the differences are real), share our new obsession, vintage cat posters, get our veterinary nutritionists to give us the low-down on the secrets to feline good health, curate a collection of the coolest cat toys and things for the home, introduce our Cover Cat contest winner, and loads more, so delve in! And don’t forget to join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for DIYs, gorgeous photos, musings, inspiring stories, a behind-the-scenes peek at what we’re up to in the MC office, and, of course, our popular Friday Freebies! With love,
Connie Wilson, Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief
I have lived with many Zen masters, all of them cats.
—From Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle and Patrick McDonnell
P H O T O J ESSI C A N OSE K
ED ITO R ’S LE T T E R
C ON TRIBUT OR S Tanya Kenevich is an editor in New Jersey and an avid fan of animals, especially cats. Her dream is combining her two passions in life—cats and writing. When she’s not writing or editing, Tanya enjoys trying new types of ethnic cuisine, reading mystery novels and books about animals, and playing servant to her adopted Himalayan, Priscilla. Funny cat poses are also encouraged, if the mood strikes. Tanya also enjoys blogging and watching Animal Planet, although Priscilla enjoys neither. Check out Tanya’s Modern Cat debut, a profile on the loveable, outgoing Ragdoll, on page 20.
VOL 1 NO 1
Modern Dog Inc. Editor-in-Chief
Connie Wilson Editor & Creative Director
Circulation Manager & Marketing Director
Design & Production
Design & Production Assistant
Sales & Marketing
Sara Lima, Mary Liu Editorial Assistant
Lori-Lee Emshey Sarah Iannone Nastasha Sartore Accounting and Subscription Services Assistant
Ria Czichotzki, owner of Rialee Photography, is a family, child, and pet photographer based in Fargo, ND. Working out of her natural light loft studio located in historic downtown Fargo, Ria has made a name for herself in the photography world with her simple and modern style. So when we needed a photographer for our cover shoot with Corky, winner of our Cover Cat Contest, we knew we’d found our woman. Turn to page 36 to meet Corky and see some of the behind-the-scenes action.
Author Suzanne Beecher, author of Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if disorderly) Life, is all kinds of amazing. She has owned a restaurant, founded and published a business magazine, started a nonprofit program to feed the homeless, and homeschooled her youngest son. Today, from Sarasota, FL, where she lives with her husband and cats, she writes a daily column at dearreader.com and designs book clubs for libraries. 375,000 people read her daily emailed column and excerpted book selection. In this issue (page 80), Suzanne shares how she somehow became Cat Woman (sometimes these things choose us). Read more about Suzanne’s book at muffinsandmayhem.com.
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Celine Benipayo Controller
Cecilia de Roca Chan Donations Program Liaison
Subscription inquiries call (800) 417-6289 Advertising inquiries call (866) 734-3131 In Canada: MODERNCAT (ISSN 1929-3933) Volume 1, Issue 1. Published biannually by Modern Dog 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 1, Issue 1. Published quarterly by Modern Dog 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. PHONE
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STUFF WE LOVE Modern Cat staffers’ picks of the litter 1 Inspired by Canadian hunting chalets, Loyal Luxe designed a cool cabin for fluffy little critters made entirely of corrugated cardboard. Just assemble and watch your cat, mighty hunter that she is, immediately ensconce herself.—Jennifer ($24, loyalluxe.com)
2 I fell in love with Olemae’s bright, bold, and cozy cat beds, their solid swaths of colour calling to mind the work of 1950s Colour Field artists (think of them as a Rothko for your dog!). Hand-crocheted with a wool and mohair blend then felted for strength, it’s the ideal size for that special cat (or small dog) in your life. They come in all kinds of colour combinations and the elegantly simple design will complement any décor.—Connie (From $66, etsy.com/shop/olemae)
3 Both my Tabby, BB, and I love The Cat Farm’s quilted cat mats. With a quilted top and a fleecy underside, it’s the perfect place for a catnap!—Mary (from $48, etsy. com/shop/thecatfarm)
4 Go big or go home is what I always say. These larger than life tees allow me to express my love of cats in a big, almost comin’-at-you sort of way. Available in a bounty of breeds and sizes.—Jessica ($20, shop.themountain.me)
5 My finicky feline pals Beebop and Rocksteady love the Lickety Stik because it’s a tasty, low-cal treat that doesn’t go straight to their hips.—Sara ($3 petsafe.net/ felinelicketystik)
6 “C” is for cool Canadian artist Cathy Peng. Among her many super-cute cat-themed designs, her striped Clever Pussycat tee is my favourite for being totally adorable and comfy!—Celine ($24, etsy.com/shop/cathypeng)
7 This eco-friendly Lo Bamboo cat scratch pad from Square Cat Habitat keeps my cat busy and entertained—and away from the antique furniture. The customizable inserts make finding the perfect scratching surface a snap and my cat can’t stop purring.—Jane ($75, squarecathabitat.com)
8 Always the jokester, I’m ROFP (Rolling On Floor Purring) at my hilarious new
sweatshirt from Burger and Friends.—Maxine “Meowzers” Matishak ($24, burgerandfriends.com)
9 What better way for my mom to express her love for me than with this personalized iPhone Deflector case from Uncommon featuring a photo of moi? Got a cat you love? Of course you do! Then get busy—it’s super-easy to upload an image and in no time at all the folks at Uncommon will send you your own custom, one-of-a-kind protective cover for your iPhone 4 or 4S featuring your own stunningly glorious cat.—Buddy the Cat ($35, getuncommon.com)
10 Small in stature but big in character, this three-piece ceramic cat wall-hook would look great in any room and impress/surprise anyone that sees it. (May my cat take your coat?)—Vanessa ($45, imm-living.com)
& ^ 10 moderncat
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CAT NEWS AND REVIEWS
Lend a Little Sparkle to Your Day
Internet Cat Video Film Festival LOLcats anyone? And let’s not forget those hilarious (seriously) Keyboard Cats and their mad piano skillz When contemplating viral video sensations, the first genre that springs to mind is none other than Cute Kitten Videos. And with good reason. Notoriously viral in cyberspace, cats and kittens of all type and stripe have absorbed a frightening amount of the public’s free time (and, doubtless, countless office hours) with video offerings ranging from the ridiculous to the adorable. Despite the runaway popularity of Internet cat videos, it wasn’t until this past summer that the online sensation got its due when the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN held the world’s first film festival devoted to YouTube feline sensations. Nominations for videos were held in July and selected by public vote. The festival, put on by curator Katie Czarniecki Hill, was open to the public and screened the selected films free of charge. Let’s hope this festival become’s an annual one because the uniting nature of something like the simple yet hilarious “keyboard cat” is worth celebrating and we definitely want to be at the next public screening!—SI
The Quote That Made Us Love Kristin Stewart “I’m obsessed with my cat,” Stewart told People magazine. “We have a really strong, really weird codependent, almost Bella/Edward relationship. I’m going to be a crazy cat lady one day, I’m sure.” Oh, and she refers to her cat as her “roommate”—so much better than “pet.”
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From award-winning writer and cat lover Janiss Garza comes sparklecat. com, a website dedicated to the thoughts and musings of Garza’s purebred Somali cat, Sparkle. Sparkle not only documents her day-to-day goings-on, but also shares cat-worthy articles, silly videos, and even sells her favourite designer gear for felines and humans alike. Whether you’re looking for stylish cat furniture or catto-cat advice, Sparkle the Cat and her trusty human companion have you covered.—NS
Culture Cat Keep you and your pop culture obsessed cat up-to-date with catsparella.com. Created with the in-the-know cat in mind, Catsparella is a cat culture blog that offers the latest buzz on anything and everything cat-related. From high fashion to cat photography to cupcakes that look like cats, creator Stephanie Harwin highlights a unique mix of online content to celebrate the style and splendour of the coolest cats around.—NS
THE SCOOP HAIRBALLS:
Hemingway’s Cat Love Descendents of Ernest Hemingway’s many cats still live at The Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West Florida. Some of the approximately 60 cats residing there are polydactyl, descendents of a six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain. Hemingway’s love of cats has even inspired a book, Hemingway’s Cats: An Illustrated Biography (2006, Pineapple Press) by Carlene Fredericka Brennen.
Photo left: The cemetery Hemingway created for his cats, located on the grounds of his home, now a museum, in Key West, Florida.
“I do not think the cat can be overestimated. He suggests so much grace, power, beauty, motion, mysticism.”—Carl Van Vechten
The other, not-so-cute ball of fur you share your home with Every cat person becomes more familiar than they’d wish with hairballs, those wet masses of fur that cause cats to retch and vomit. It’s a disconcerting though completely normal part of cat behaviour. When cats groom themselves, they swallow loose hairs, which eventually mat together with stomach contents (ew) to become hairballs. Luckily, hairballs can be minimized with a few simple strategies. First, make sure you groom your cat frequently. Find a grooming tool (we like the Love Glove and the Furminator) that your cat enjoys and it will become a great way to spend quality time with your cat, with the added bonus of reducing loose hairs and, hence, hairballs. Secondly, discourage obsessive self-grooming. Many cats resort to grooming when they are bored, so provide scratching posts and toys to keep your kitty busy. Also check how much fiber your cat is getting on a daily basis. A fiber-rich diet will help hair move through the digestive tract instead of up and out on to your floor. If these tips don’t improve the situation, speak with your veterinarian. Occasionally hairballs can be a sign of a serious underlying problems from bowel impaction to kidney disease.—JH
Meet Mayor Stubbs of Talkeetna, Alaska. He’s a Cat. This July, the town of Talkeetna, Alaska, celebrated their mayor’s 15th year in position. This is particularly remarkable because the mayor of Talkeetna, a tourist town of approximately 800 residents, is a cat. Known as “Mayor Stubbs,” the part-Manx feline was sworn in shortly after he was born. Controversy over mayoral candidates had birthed a movement to have Stubbs written in as a mayoral contender and, sure enough, he was elected. Turns out Stubbs is a mayor the town can get behind, not only uniting the people of Talkeetna but becoming a tourist draw the tiny mountain town thrives on. Stubbs spends the majority of his days at Nagley’s, a general store located in Talkeetna, where 30 to 40 tourists visit him daily. He was recently featured in Alaska Magazine and receives letters and cards addressed to him each day at the general store. Against all odds (and then some), Stubbs has found long term success in office by continuing to be the amusing cat the people can count on.—SI
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Deepest thoughts and secret admissions revealed! By Rose Frosek
ave you ever been bewildered by your cat’s actions, be he a connoisseur of the sweet herb or budding lepidopterist, and questioned just what is going on in that head of his? Lucky for you, New York City-based comedian and artist Christopher Rozzi is here to give us the inside track. In his spoton illustrations revealing the inner musings and reflections of our feline pals, Rozzi offers a very funny proposal of what’s going on behind that inscrutable, fuzzy visage—and in the process captures something very true and revealing of our relationships with our cats. Rozzi’s terrific prints are developed from his one-of-a-kind paintings, a collection of which will be available in his forthcoming book, Tiny Confessions. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until June 2013 for the book’s release, but in the interim, you can get your hands on one of his prints through Etsy or send him a picture of your cat to be matched with her own confession. We confess: we’re charmed.
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I L LU ST R AT I O N S CH R I STO P H E R R OZ Z I
! w o e M
Modern Cat’s Photo Contest Winners! Bandit & Lilly
Cap’n O.G. Readmore Ivory
Paisley BB Simba
Synnie 18 moderncat
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Nahla Tucker + Buddy
Chloe Francis Helmer
Think your cat ought to grace the pages of Modern Cat? Send us photos of your picture-perfect cat! The winning entries will be published in Modern Cat magazine. Send photos to: Modern Cat Photo Contest, Suite 202, 343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 1A4. Submitted photographs are property of Modern Cat and will not be returned. Please include your name, catâ€™s name and breed, address and contact info, including telephone number. Please send 4 x 6 print photographs or enter online at moderncat.com. Assignment of rights applies; see full details at moderncat.com/ photocontest/rules.
Meet this laid-back cat with a great disposition
MARY BLOOM Â© AKC
By Tanya Kenevich
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or a breed that is known for becoming heavy and ragdoll-like when picked up (hence the name), the Ragdoll is actually a laid-back cat with a great disposition. Its people-oriented personality and affectionate nature make the breed a family favourite and keep Ragdoll aficionados coming back for more. The Ragdoll is a fairly new breed that was developed by Ann Baker in the early 1960s. According to The International Cat Association (TICA), Baker’s pure white longhaired cat, Josephine, is believed to be the matriarch of the breed. After Baker bred Josephine with other male cats she owned or found, she noticed that the offspring of Josephine had unique temperament traits that were very endearing. One of the most popular traits of the offspring was the relaxed nature of the cats when picked up, similar to the heaviness of a doll—this is where the “Ragdoll” nickname came from. Baker set up her own registry—the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA)— and strict breeding standards were enforced. In 1975, a group led by Denny Dayton broke rank with IRCA in order to gain mainstream attention for the Ragdoll. Dayton’s mission was a success; this group eventually developed the Ragdoll standard currently accepted by major cat registries. Breeders are insistent on the description of the Ragdoll to be a blue eyed and “pointed” breed, which means the body is lighter in colour than the points—the face, legs, tail, and ears. But don’t let the Ragdoll’s regal looks fool you into thinking this is a stuffy breed. Most Ragdolls are very relaxed and docile, and enjoy being around people. “They love their people and they get along well with other dogs and cats,” says Sue Shorey, president of the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International (RFCI). In fact, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), many Ragdolls are very devoted to their owners and will even run to greet their people at the door. The point design that Ragdolls are known for isn’t evident at birth. Kittens are born pure white and start to develop their colouring within the first few weeks of life. Within two to three years, the Ragdoll will fully develop its colours. The Ragdoll is a cat of medium to large build. On average, male Ragdolls range from 15 to 20 pounds; females usually range around 10 to 15 pounds. Grooming requirements for Ragdolls are fairly minimal, as they do not possess a double coat. But rest assured, even without a double coat, the Ragdoll’s fur is soft and plush, with a silky touch.
Its people-oriented personality and affectionate nature make the breed a family favourite.
The Ragdoll Grooming: Although the Ragdoll does not have a double coat, it should still be brushed regularly to avoid matting. Playfulness/sociability: Ragdolls are known for being extremely social, even-tempered, and affectionate. Heritage: The breed originated in the 1960s in the United States. They were bred for their even temperament, gentle demeanour, and especially for their trait of going limp when picked up. US Rescue: freewebs.com/ragdollrescueusa Canadian Rescue: ragdoll.rescueme.org/ca
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Although Ragdoll cats are known for going limp when picked up, not every Ragdoll has this trait—especially playful kittens. But no matter if a Ragdoll has this trait or not, they always bring a smile to their owners’ faces with their even disposition. Their intelligence continues to amaze Ragdoll owners. According to Shorey, Ragdolls can learn their names when called, can be taught how to fetch, and learn what they are allowed to do (and not to do). “They don’t have that destructive trait to them,” Shorey says. The Ragdoll did receive somewhat of a black eye from reports that said the breed was more prone to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart disease where areas of the heart muscle enlarge and thicken. HCM is the most common heart disease in felines and an alarming trait of the disease is that a cat could seem healthy but will become seriously ill very quickly, or even die suddenly. However, DNA tests have been developed in the past few years that can recognize the mutation, and it has helped Ragdoll breeders to take it out of the breed, so today HCM is not prevalent nor is the breed prone to any other specific health problems. It might be best for a Ragdoll cat to remain indoors, however. Because of their non-violent and relaxed nature, they could become victim to other outside cats or unpredictable elements. Bottom line? The Ragdoll is a great companion for a cat lover. They beg to give affection and attention to their owners—and they certainly love to get the same in return. Chill and docile, the Ragdoll is the perfect addition to a family wanting to maintain a relaxed vibe throughout the household. n
s y a w a e v i G t a Gre
ENTER TO WIN We’re giving it away! Enter to win fabulous giveaways September through February. Go to moderncat.com/giveaways to enter! Lucky readers will win every two weeks.
Win one of five FURminators, the patented deShedding tool used and recommended by professional groomers and veterinarians that decreases shedding up to 90 percent and reduces hairballs!
Win one of 12 copies of For the Love of Cats, a book that will captivate feline fans with its alphabet full of fun verses and colourful illustrations.
Win one of two one-year supplies of World’s Best Cat Litter, allnatural cat litter made from wholekernel corn, offering outstanding odor control and quick clumping!
Win one of ten copies of Neil Abramson’s Unsaid. “Rarely has a novel captured so movingly the deep bonds between people and the animals that share their lives.” (Parade)
Win one of three Royal Canin packs of Feline Spayed/Neutered Health Nutrition cat food! Each pack contains a bag of the kibble and a case of canned food.
Win one of five Fizzion Starter Kits plus five additional refill packs. Fizzion’s patented tablet formula removes pet stains and odors with the power of CO2!
15 readers will win a copy of Goodbye, Friend, a beautiful, comforting book for anyone grieving the loss of a beloved animal. Filled with guidance and heartwarming stories to help you heal.
Win one of eight $25 gift certificates to use towards any items featured on LeLePets. com, a daily deals site featuring design inspired pet goods.
Win one of two white Modkat awardwinning modern cat litter boxes that keep litter in its place!
Win one of four Wapiti Labs supplement packs for cats. Each pack contains Mobility and Strength supplements and feature Elk Velvet Antler!
Win one Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed! Allow your cat to travel safely in pampered comfort. 30-MPH crash tested and approved by veterinarians worldwide.
Win one of four Popware for Pets prize packs, including an elevated, collapsible feeder bowl, matching Grippmat, travel cup, and two suction lids for food cans.
No purchase necessary to enter or win. Beginning September 1, 2012 at 12:01 AM (PST) through Februrary 28, 2013 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.
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WHAT YOUR CAT REALLY WANTS By Steve Duno
Illustration Kim Smith
Give your cat these essentials and you’ll both enjoy a long, loving partnership.
e love our cats, not only for their companionship, but for their ability to help us preserve a connection with the untamed world. With three paws in our hearts and one in the wild, they connect us to nature in a way that other pets cannot. But, despite their independent, self-reliant abilities, our cats still need us. Though not as needy as our dog friends, cats nevertheless require certain fundamentals to be happy. Without these, they can evidence behavioural and physical problems which lower their quality of life and strain our partnerships with them. Of course, we all strive to provide a high quality diet and ensure that Ginger gets regular veterinary care, but beyond good food and good health, there are other, less obvious, factors that contribute to her well-being.
The Cat Came Back: Territorial Stability Space means a lot to felines, who, in the wild, covet it even more so than do their more sociable canid brethren. Territory, vital for hunting and mating success, is well-defined and defended. Your domestic cat is no different; she wants to live in a stable, predictable environment, with enough space to feel safe and in charge. Territory for your cat is a four-dimensional affair. She not only patrols the home from room to room, jumping up to stalk along refrigerators or cupboards, or slipping under beds and dressers; she will do so at varying times each day. This “time-share” phenomenon can allow multiple cats to share a finite territory; while one rests, another can patrol the same space without undue conflict. Provide your cat with a stable, safe, relatively stress-free territory. This means not creating unpredictable conditions that could traumatize or threaten her. Loud music, having the neighbour’s kids over to play tag, or throwing a wild party every Saturday night could all disturb her enough to trigger backlashes such as housetraining mishaps or destructive behaviour. Even redecorating your home can stress some timid cats enough to cause anxiety, so be sure to make changes in the physical environment slowly, over time. Try not to move your cat’s litter box or food dishes around once they are in established spots. And, though you love all cats, yours may not take kindly to you adding new ones into her territory. The easiest path to peaceful multiple cat cohabitation is to get two kittens at the same time. The next easiest route is to, bring a kitten of the opposite sex into an established adult cat’s home. Keep in
mind your particular cat’s personality and that too many adult cats in a small space, despite their ability to “timeshare” territory, can lead to conflict and behavioural mishaps, so, if your resident cat is intolerant of other felines, you may wish to err on the side of caution and let your cat lord it over your home without competition. Make your cat’s home territory as safe as possible. Avoid toxic houseplants, cover exposed wiring, and secure all doors and windows. Keep all chemicals and cleaning supplies locked away; even soaps or perfumes can poison a cat, so take care to cat-proof any area she inhabits.
Don’t Go Changing to Try and Please Me: Routine Cats like routine, consistency, predictability. This harkens to the feline instinct to establish a stable, dependable environment. Like many of us, they are a bit obsessive about things and like it that way. Change the home routine too often and you’ll stress her out and invite trouble. It’s why, when cat owners move, their cats often run off in search of their old digs. Or when you return from vacation, your cat will often give you the cold shoulder for a few days. Switch from the swing shift to the morning shift and you’ll see the same reaction. Keep the timing of things as routine as possible. Feed her at the same time, play with her at the same times. Whatever your own schedule tends to be, try to stick to it. Avoid changing things such as the food dishes, brand of litter, or even the actual litter box.
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If you add furnishings, do so one piece at a time. Paint one room at a time. New scratching post? Don’t toss the old one; instead, place the new one next to it. The bottom line is to “tiptoe” change into her life, instead of bowling her over with a sea change of modifications. As a cat, she’ll be more amenable to that type of strategy.
I Love You Just the Way You Are: Respect Every cat has a distinct personality that must be identified and respected in order to have harmony in the home. For example, some cats revel in the attention of guests, while others slip away and hide when company calls. Take that shy cat and immerse her in a busy social environment and you may never see her again. Conversely, if your cat is a social butterfly but gets little face time with other people, she may start acting out through excess vocalization, or any manner of undesirable behaviours. It’s simply how they express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. If she is shy and tense around company, don’t force the issue. Let her decide when she wants to interact. If she likes company, by all means let her mix to her heart’s content. Identify what her preferences are, then encourage them, while limiting stimuli she finds scary. If she clearly likes other cats, consider getting another, but if not, don’t put her through it. Don’t
force a timid cat to snuggle; rather, let her come to you, a sure sign that you can love on her. Whatever your cat’s personality, letting her initiate contact is a good rule of thumb to follow. Lastly, remember that cats, unlike most dogs, will hold grudges with regard to behaviour she deems scary or confrontational. If a child steps on Ginger’s tail, she’ll likely avoid that child for quite a while. If someone accidentally trips over her, she could hold it against that person for a long time. Accordingly, use her personality to determine what she will and will not tolerate, then stick to it.
The Eye of the Tiger: Enrichment Though cats like the status quo, they also enjoy having their senses and intellect stimulated. It’s a function of them being effective predators; to be content, they need to have that inquisitive, hunting instinct aroused. Zookeepers hide meat around the lion and tiger enclosures in trees and shrubs; you should do the same around your house. Provide your cat with objects, activities, and incentives that will stoke her natural curiosities. These “enrichments” can be as simple as adding a sisal scratching post to your home, or leaving the radio on a classical music station. See the next page for other enrichments you can try.
ILLUSTRATION KIM SMITH
Always let your cat’s base personality set the tone of your relationship.
Your cat is a master of the sensory, and owns a physicality that dwarfs our own.
13 EASY ENRICHMENTS FOR YOUR CAT Because You’re Mine, I Walk Feline: Cat Awareness Last but not least, understand that your cat lives in a world defined by her needs and interpretations, not yours. She thinks of you not as a human, but as a gigantic maternal figure. She is a master of the sensory, and owns a physicality that dwarfs our own. To that end, try to develop what I call effective feline empathy. Instead of humanizing your feline, try to “be the cat” as often as you can. See things through her eyes, and be in the present, as is she. Smells, sounds, light levels, temperature, body posture— whatever you think a cat might respond to, try to notice. This clarity of surroundings is what she is all about, so try to empathize with it. It will make you a better cat owner, and a better friend. n
Leaving a trail of treats that lead to a hidden reward, such as a piece of chicken
Hanging a few unreachable mobiles around the home
Placing a few unbreakable mirrors around the home at floor level
Leaving a feather on the floor
Getting a tengallon fish tank with a secure lid, and stocking it with goldfish
Leaving a curtain partially open Rubbing a piece of cheese on a windowsill
Hiding a sprig of catnip
Leaving a few veterinarianapproved cat toys out
Enticing your cat to play with a cat “teaser” wand
Leaving out a small pot of wheat grass
Dropping a frozen cube of broth into her water dish
Setting up a multi-leveled, carpeted “kitty condo” in the living room
These are just a few enrichments you can try; come up with some of your own!
MEET THE MAINE COON
A North American original, back from near extinction By Rob Spooner
he Maine Coon’s behaviour, personality, and loyalty are particularly doglike for a cat. A relatively modern breed, its development goes back just over two hundred years. It is one of the largest breeds of domestic house cat, with males growing up to 18 pounds at maturity, and it is the only cat that can be claimed to be truly North American in origin. Originating in the American Northeast, its personality made it a popular house pet, and its hunting skills let it earn its keep as a mouser. It is a long-haired breed, having evolved to survive cold eastern winters. The coat is coarser than other longhaired breeds so it doesn’t tangle as readily, and thus requires less frequent grooming. The dense, bushy tail, roughly the length of the body, is used for both balance and agility while hunting and as insulation to stay warm while at rest. Despite its current popularity, the breed’s true origin remains uncertain, although many myths have arisen to account for its appearance. The Genetic Impossibility theory suggests it arose from crossing local domestic cats with bobcats (or, as the name suggests, raccoons, presumably explaining the breed’s large size, pointed ear tips, and bushy tail.) The Romantic theory would posit a French connection suggesting Marie Antoinette attempted to escape France during the Revolution, packing
her belongings, including several longhaired cats, on a New England-bound ship. This theory has the ship arriving without her (decapitation having caused her to rethink her travel plans), but carrying her cats, which presumably proceeded to breed with the local short-haired cat population. A more likely explanation is that the Maine Coon is a result of evolution and natural selection at work: the survival of the fittest. Cats have been popular and useful pets for centuries, both onboard ships and on farms as mousers. The arrival in New England of people from all across Europe blended larger, short-haired cats from mainland Europe with stockier, longhaired varieties from Scandinavia and the north. Generations of evolution produced a cat well equipped to survive harsh winters. The Maine Coon’s popularity skyrocketed in the late 1800s, where it won many Best in Show categories at major cat shows in New York, Boston, and Chicago. But its popularity dwindled at the turn of the century with the introduction of exotic long-haired breeds like the Persian and Himalayan, to a point where it was labelled extinct in the 1950s. Yet cat fanciers managed to resurrect the breed and restore it to its previous levels of popularity, making it now the second most popular breed in North America. No wonder it’s said cats have nine lives! n
Myths surrounding the Maine Coon abound, including one that the breed arose from crossing local domestic cats with bobcats.
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Cat People vs Dog People Are there real personality differences? By Stanley Coren
Illustration by Rachel Gordon
irtually any discussion among pet owners is bound to reveal clearly that there are cat people and there are dog people. In some cases, the depth of feeling for a chosen species can be quite intense. In a study conducted at Ball State University, pet owners were surveyed about their personalities and their pet ownership. In general, the results showed that people believe that their own personalities are similar to those of the pets they keep. Cat owners saw themselves as being more independent while dog owners described themselves as being friendly. There are sound reasons to suspect that the preference for cats or dog reflects some underlying human personality differences. Certainly the relationship between cats and humans has always been quite different than the relationship between dogs and people. This reflects the behaviours that both species have kept from their heritage prior to domestication. In the wild, cats are usually solitary hunters and often are active mostly at night. Cats are the least tame of our household pets but are surprisingly successful for a species that retains so
much of its wildness. Perhaps their success is due to this wildness they hold onto, a part of their appeal and magic, both at odds with and highlighting the specialness of their place in our households. In contrast, wild canines are usually sociable pack animals that work in groups and are active between dawn and dusk. Our domestic dogs retain this need for social interaction to the degree that without a master and a family, a dog is unhappy. Cats fare much better with alone time—which is not to say, however, that they don’t require (demand?) attention and affection…just on their own terms and schedule. Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin and his graduate student, Carson Sandy, conducted a web-based study in which 4,565 individuals were asked whether they were dog people, cat people, neither, or both. This group was given a 44-item assessment that measured them on the so-called Big Five personality dimensions psychologists often use to study personalities. Gosling summarized his results, saying, “There is a widely held cultural belief that the pet species—dog or cat—with which a person has the strongest affinity says something about
Cats are the least tame of our household pets but are surprisingly successful for a species that retains so much of its wildness.
Queen Elizabeth II has owned
over 30 Corgis during her reign, keeping at least four in her pack at all times, and has even introduced a new breed—the “Dorgi”—when one of them mated with a Dachshund.
dog, Arthur, a Cocker Spaniel, was not only a guest but the best man at his wedding to David Furnish.
Robert Pattinson and then-girlfriend Kristen Stewart adopted rescue dog Bear from a high-kill Louisiana shelter while filming Breaking Dawn.
Film producer/screenwriter/director George Lucas is an ardent dog lover. In fact, the Star Wars character Chewbacca was inspired by Lucas’ large, furry Alaskan Malamute Indiana.
Chow Chow, Ghenghis Khan, took Best in Breed at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. He keeps company with Martha’s Frenchies, Francesca and Sharkey, who write the “Daily Wag” on marthastewart.com/pets.
Audrey Hepburn’s Yorkshire
Andy Warhol once wrote, “I
credits her rescued Lab/Chow cross, Flossie, for saving her and then-boyfriend Tom Green from a house fire by barking and thumping on the bedroom door. Barrymore subsequently bequeathed the renovated house to Flossie.
never met a pet I didn’t like.” But his one true love was Archie, a Dachshund who became his alter ego to the extent that, during interviews, Warhol would deflect to the dog questions he didn’t want to answer.
Sarah McLachlan lends Songstress
her song “Angel” as well as her celebrity to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as a prominent supporter in the fight against animal cruelty. Her ties to the group are so well known that it recently inspired a send-up on Saturday Night Live.
Queen Victoria loved dogs and her favourite, Islay, is immortalized in bronze sculpture by the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia. Animal adoption is Oprah-approved. Her Cocker Spaniel, Sadie, is from PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest no-kill shelter.
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ILLUSTRATION RACHEL GORDON
Famous Dog Lovers
Terrier, Mr. Famous—well named as he’s perhaps one of the most famous Yorkies ever—appeared with her in Funny Face. John Jr.’s sister Caroline Kennedy’s childhood pup was a Welsh Terrier named Charlie, said to have been a gift from Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Things weren’t always black-and-white with Richard Nixon, but his dog was, garnering the pup the name Checkers.
Blake Lively is rarely Actress
seen without her precious pup, Penny, the curlyfurred Maltipoo who frequently accompanies her on the set of Gossip Girl and on shopping trips, too. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett—perhaps inspired by his dog, Cheeseburger [in Paradise?]— sponsors the Jamaican Dogsled Team through his many ventures, most notably his restaurant chain, Margaritaville.
the individual’s personality, and this research suggests there are significant differences on major personality traits between dog people and cat people.” Just on the basis of the nature of dogs being more sociable than cats, one might expect that the personalities of dog lovers would also reflect higher sociability, and indeed the results showed that dog people were generally about 15 percent more extroverted. In comparison, cat people were 11 percent more “open” than dog people. The openness trait involves a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. People high on openness are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs while people with lower scores on openness (dog people) tend to have more conventional, traditional interests. But really, perhaps it’s just a matter of attachments formed early on. In a study I conducted, the people who grew up in a house with cats as pets were 47 percent more likely to have cats today, while only 11 percent of people whose childhood years were spent in a house with a dog have only a cat as a pet as an adult. So where does that leave us? Back at the old nature vs nurture debate, which is most satisfactorily if not scientifically resolved by determining it’s a combination of both. n
Famous Cat Lovers Gary Oldman, who plays Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather in the movie franchise, is said to be“sirius” about his cat, Soymilk.
Taylor Swift Last
stray cat he found on the movie lot during filming of The Godfather by having his character Don Corleone hold the cat in the film.
year, self-proclaimed “cat lady” Taylor Swift adopted an adorable kitten named Meredith. Swift showed the world her love for the kitten in two videos—one in which they play fetch, and the other in which Swift teaches Meredith about the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Vanna White plays
Marlon Brando immortalized a
mom to cats Kiki and Stella when not playing on Wheel of Fortune.
John Lennon’s first cat (besides childhood pets) was named Mimi, after his cat-loving aunt. He had many over his lifetime, some inspiring sketches. Ironically, Snoop Dogg loves cats. Two Siamese named Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis are part of Snoop’s posse.
Penelope Cruz Before her days as an A-list Hollywood actress, Penelope Cruz used to live in a small Los Angeles hotel room with stray cats that she took in from the streets.
Katy Perry Pop star Katy Perry’s cat Kitty Purry is almost as famous as she is. Kitty Purry even inspired Katy’s debut perfume, Purr.
Former Smith’s front man Morrisey gained deserved recognition for his animal rights advocacy when he posed for a PETA campaign with a cat on his head. The musician takes homelessness among cats and dogs very seriously and has worked with PETA to promote spaying and neutering.
Renaissance man James Franco was raised a cat person, and remains a cat lover. Franco has two cats, Sammy and Zelda, which he named after famous literary figures.
Evan Rachel Wood After her 2008 break up with Marilyn Manson, Evan Rachel Wood adopted a cat that she named Nicodemus after the king of rats in the critically acclaimed animated film, The Secret of NIMH.
Andy Samberg Funny guy Andy Samberg was recently featured on the cover of Wired magazine with a cat perched on his shoulder. The Saturday Night Live star is, after all, the comedic mastermind behind the viral video series Laser Cats.
Regis Philbin shared a close bond with his cat, Ashley, who lived to be twenty.
Gutter to the
Spotlight Photographed by Ria Czichotzki
Behind the Scenes: MEET THE COVER CAT
housands of smart, sassy, adorable cats were entered in the Modern Cat Cover Contest but there was one cat that vaulted into first place, capturing the hearts and imaginations of so many he garnered over 39,000 votes. Corky the Cradle Cat’s sweet face and compelling story have generated worldwide interest in his unlikely triumph over adversity, and his tale had a profound effect on Modern Cat readers. Though Corky now has nearly 16,000 Facebook friends, his beginnings were not so rosy. In March 2012, Corky was found dragging himself down a sidewalk on Main Avenue in Moorhead, ND and taken to Moorhead Pound. From there, Fargo’s CATS Cradle shelter, an all volunteer, non-profit cat and kitten rescue, took over, saving Corky from a short life that was set to end in euthanasia. He was only seven months old. Corky was an extraordinary case: he was born with a rare congenital condition called Bilateral Arthrogryposis of the Tarsus, which causes the legs to develop backwards and crisscrossed. Naturally, this kitty had more mobility problems than the shelter’s average rescue, having to drag his hindquarters to get around. The CATS Cradle founders took him to get radiographs, only to discover the severity of his condition. He
Photo left: Corky with his guardian and saviour Gail Ventzke, one of the founders of Fargo, ND’s CATS Cradle Shelter (Look how sweet Corky’s expression is!). Photo right: A behind the scenes shot of photographer Ria Czichotzki of Rialee Photography capturing Corky with wrangling assistance from Gail Ventzke.
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Corky was found dragging himself down a sidewalk.
needed surgery as soon as possible. After a month of fund raising, the staff at CATS Cradle—including Gail Ventzke, one of the rescue’s founders and Corky’s adoptive mom—were able to raise enough money to correct Corky’s leg deformity. Only one vet, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dan Burchill of Casselton Veterinary Service, was willing to operate on the kitten. After overcoming serious complications, Corky was released from the hospital at the end of April, his first step on the long road to recovery. Much of Corky’s past remains a mystery, but today he’s a happy cat living with CATS Cradle director Gail Ventzke and her family, which includes three feline and three canine siblings for Corky to play with. Every day sees Corky build strength in his lower body and he is increasingly able to use his remaining rear leg. He is now the official mascot for CATS Cradle Shelter Rescue and Adoption, and is a source of inspiration for many. “We have had emails from people fighting illnesses who had given up, but after reading about Corky they now have the will to fight,” says Ventzke. “If this helpless little kitten could not only survive but thrive, so could they. We’ve also heard from people [who were inspired by] Corky’s story to get up off of their comfy couches and contact their local rescues to volunteer. We feel that Corky will have a wonderful quality of life full of love with limitless opportunities to help unite the world in rescue efforts.”—NS
A RARE VINTAGE Our new obsession? Vintage cat posters
By Rose Frosek
ur new obsession? Vintage cat posters. While in New York, we happened upon La Belle Époque, a magical little shop in Greenwich Village, and proceeded to while away hours digging through a veritable treasure trove of art from the Golden Age of advertising. The posters carried at La Belle Époque, all originals, date from the mid 1800s through the 1990s, with the bulk of the inventory from the 1890s through the 1960s. Owners Elie Saporta and Linda Tarasuk, along with their shop dogs, long-coated Chihuahuas Honey and Lulu (or the “Mexican-American princesses”) are welcoming and a font of knowledge, willing to unearth posters according to your preference, be it food, drink, bicycles, travel, or, in our case, cats. Elie also makes the best cappuccino going. We asked them if they would share some of their favourite posters featuring cats and they dug up these beautiful examples. Interested in getting a vintage poster to grace your wall? Check out labelle-epoque.com. Poster prices start as low as $75.
Quinquina du Chat Noir
Artist: Anonymous Approx. Size: 14” x 19” Circa: 1900 Origin: France
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Artist: Anonymous Approx. Size: 38” x 50” Circa: 1900s Origin: Italy
Exposition de Tableaux & Dessins de A. Willette
Artist: Jules Cheret (1836 - 1932) Approx. Size: 35” x 49” Circa: 1888 Origin: France
Q+A with La Belle Époque How were the posters made? In the second half of the 19th century, the modern advertising posters were lithographs using limestone as the printing plates. As advertising moved into the 20th century, limestone was replaced with zinc plates to accommodate larger advertising campaigns. As some campaigns required a very large quantity of advertising posters, like the USA WW1 patriotic posters, they used offset printing. The value of the original vintage posters is dependent on rarity, condition, and importance and not on the printing method. Where are most of your posters from? In the beginning, France was the largest producer of advertising art. Although the bulk of the surviving original advertising posters are from France, we have posters from Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, and more. What do you love about vintage posters and how did you get started collecting and selling them? The beauty, the size, the history, the collectability, the fact that they are documents of another era. Imagine being able to own, enjoy, and afford art that is museum worthy and documented. Most major museums have permanent collections of vintage advertising posters. These posters work well with all kinds of décor and are especially fabulous for warming up a room that is contemporary and lacking colour. In 1985, with over 160 posters between us, we decided to go into a partnership and open a gallery. We needed to sell some posters so that we could purchase more for our personal collections! n moderncat.com
Tease your feisty feline with a compellingly cute Roach rod (who would have thought we’d be using the words “roach” and “cute” in the same sentence?). Each toy includes a 12-inch wooden wand attached to an irresistible monster roach made of felt and packed with organic catnip. $12, etsy. com/shop/gopetdesign
Keep your kitty alert and positively ecstatic with a sack of West Paw Design’s most eco-friendly cat toy yet. Made of organic cotton and filled with USDA certified organic catnip, each colourful sack is left loosely tied so the catnip escapes bit-by-bit as your kitty plays, attacks, and cuddles her favourite new toy. $7, westpawdesign.com
Bored? Beat the doldrums with non-toxic catnip bubbles. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your cat’s step. (Also makes a great alternative to birdseed at kitty weddings.) $5, cosmiccatnip.com
This jingly, feathered flier is revved up with catnip. Shake, toss, and watch your cat claim his prize. $7, etsy. com/shop/thecatfarm
To market to market to buy a fat… fish. And a bird and a bottle of milk. A grocery bag of felted toys stuffed with organic catnip is just the thing to get lazy kitties up and running errands. $15, georgesf.com
YOUR CAT WANTS THESE TOYS
Dig it. This sweet cotton radish is plump with organic catnip and has floppy foliage for lots of fun. $6, olivegreendog.com
Let’s Play! Get back to basics with this non-toxic alternative to plastic toys. When not in play, nestle this catnip-infused wooden ball in its jar of organic catnip to rejuice. $5, tipsynip.com
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S’long sour puss! Turn that frown upside down with this lemon turned sweet thanks to its organic catnip filling. $6, duckyworld.com
body &soul Back to the Future
Catnip markers and stickers are the cat’s pajamas Back in my sticker book days, my sister used to rip me off by convincing me to trade my highly prized Oil-ies or Fuzzies (that would be iridescent and fuzzy stickers for those unfamiliar with sticker-trading lingo) for something like a Chiquita Banana sticker. Luckily, I didn’t trade my Smellies. Thinking back, I can still conjure the scratch-and-sniff scent of a smiling strawberry sticker or a dill pickle in shades. So I was delighted to discover that there’s something like a smelly sticker equivalent for cats. Catnip stickers work on the same premise as scratch ‘n sniff stickers while catnip markers are used to “write” with. Simply annoint household items with the catnip marker or affix stickers to them, and the clear, nontoxic, non-staining, micro-encapsulated catnip releases its catnip scent when rubbed or scratched, turning the most ordinary items (paper, a sock) into the best thing ever. Welcome back to the future, kitties.—JN supercatproducts.com
THE FIND Tired of wearing cat hair? The Amazing Pet Hair Pick Up Mitt effortlessly removes cat hair from you, upholstery, bedding, curtains—you name it. Fully reusable (no refills necessary) and made with easy-to-clean natural sponge. $7, catsrule.com
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TAPEWORM TROUBLE The other day I picked my cat up, then noticed something like a grain of rice on my shirt. And then I thought I saw it move! Eeeww!! Was that a tapeworm segment? If so, what should I do?—Icked Out in Ithaca
A: Intestinal parasites are a
concern for both indoor and outdoor cats. Tapeworm segments look like small pieces of rice. Cats can develop tapeworm infections from ingesting fleas or from eating small rodents. The good news is that with a single “deworming” treatment from your veterinarian, the problem is treated. For a while. Outdoor cats should be treated once a year with a deworming medication. Flea control is also essential for outdoor cats, and a good idea for indoor cats as well (especially if other animals in your home spend time outdoors), if you want to minimize the chances of tapeworm infection. Some types of tapeworm can affect humans, so good hygiene around all pets is critical.—Dr. Ian Sandler, DVM
body &soul PASS THE GRASS
Grazing. Horses do it. Goats, too. But cats? Surprisingly enough, though cats are carnivores, they do eat grass. When cats eat their prey, they eat the whole animal, including indigestible bits, such as fur and bone. With their sandpaper-like tongues, they also end up picking up hair, resulting in the all-too-familiar hairball. Grass, too, is indigestible to cats and it is for this very reason that they eat it. By acting to induce vomiting or as a laxative by adding fiber and bulk, the grass actually helps rid the body of that which cannot be broken down. It contains folic acid as well (also found in mother’s milk), which is necessary for a young cat’s growth and to prevent anemia. Because cats have this natural instinct to graze it’s important to ensure that there are no toxic plants in your home. Visit aspca.org/ pet-care/poison-control/plants/ for a list of those to watch out for.—JN
True Carnivores Healthy meaty diet, happy cat.
The first and most crucial ingredient in maintaining your cat’s well-being is, of course, her diet. To that end, you must give her the best food you can, in the correct quantities. Too much and she’ll suffer from obesity, a major problem with cats today. Too little, and she could develop malnutrition leading to illness or disease. The same goes for food quality; feed her a poor quality food and she will suffer, and fail to reach the age she could if fed properly. Feed a high quality, meat-based food. Cats are true carnivores and as such, do not fare well with the substantial amounts of carbohydrates, which can, over time, contribute to the development of diabetes, kidney problems, or both. You may wish to consider feeding a balanced raw diet, available at
DIY Grow-Op Grow your own cat grass! Pick up a kit such as SmartyKat SweetGreens cat grass kit (smartykat.com) and watch as your own garden of edible grass grows right before your eyes in just four to six days!
many good pet stores today. If you decide to make your own, speak to your veterinarian first, to ensure you include all the essential ingredients. Taurine, for example, an amino acid vital to a cat’s health, cannot be made in the cat’s body, and must therefore be in her food. Though this important nutrient is present in meat, most owners who feed a raw diet add taurine supplements, as well as vitamin/mineral supplements, to ensure good health.—SD
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Secrets to Good
FELINE HEALTH Seven secrets to making an educated choice when choosing your cat’s food By Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott
onday morning arrives and your normally less-than-sunny co-worker is all smiles in her enthusiasm to share her exciting news from the weekend: she’s adopted a kitten at a recue event, a scruffy pirate in baby-cat form who has quickly insinuated himself in her heart and household, as her zillions of iPhone photos attest. As she scrolls through one Hipstamatichued kitten snap after another, she poses one of the very most important questions anyone with a new pet can ask: what on earth to feed the little beggar? Diet plays such an important role in health—to some extent, we are, in a matter of speaking, what we eat—that it’s paramount to choose the right cat food. But there is so much conflicting information concerning pet food that making a choice can be confusing. Companies vie for market share by highlighting what they consider to be unique features of their products, contradictory claims abound, and the Internet is full of websites about what foods are supposedly best. All of this information can leave you more baffled than enlightened. Friends and coworkers may tell you one thing while your vet has a completely different viewpoint. Where does one even begin? This isn’t a rhetorical question; the answer is—here!
Secret #1: Read the ingredient list Cats are special. But very few people know exactly how special a cat’s nutritional requirements really are. We cannot feed cats like little dogs. In fact, cats have a number of unique metabolic idiosyncrasies that make them very different from their canine housemates. The biggest difference between cats and dogs is that cats are obligate carnivores. Obligate carnivores are required to get their nutrition from meat, whereas omnivorous species like dogs can get nutrition from both meat and vegetable matter. As a result, cats have a higher requirement for protein than dogs, as well as a requirement for a diet-supplied source of the amino acid taurine, without which they will form deficiencies. This means that cats cannot get all of their nutrient requirements from a food created for dogs, so it’s important to choose an appropriate cat-species-specific diet. Knowing exactly what is in your cat’s food can have a huge impact on her health. Look for a diet that contains a high quality animal protein source and has taurine included in the list of ingredients. Keep in mind that taurine will be lower on the list of ingredients because cats don’t require a lot of it in their diet (ingredients are listed in order by weight, from greatest to least). moderncat.com
Avoid mystery meat.
If your cat doesnâ€™t have allergies, these are the top four things to look for:
1 A single meat (protein) source as the first ingredient. You should be able to tell what type of meat was used; chicken meal is a much better ingredient than meat meal.
2 Whole meat or meat meal. Meat by-products are made from the meat parts of the animal such as the organs, and are generally lower-quality ingredients handled less carefully than whole meats so avoid by-products. Whole meat contains a lot of water, while meat meal is whole meat that has been cooked and dried. When whole fresh meat is followed by a grain in an ingredient list, it means that, once the water has been removed, there are actually more grains than meat in the food. If that is the case, look for a meat meal in the list of ingredients as well to ensure that there is enough meat protein in the food. The type (venison, rabbit, beef...) of whole meat/meat meal should be identified; avoid mystery meats! Many canned foods will contain meat by-products as these are often organ meats and are highly palatable for cats. While you do want to look for whole meat as a primary ingredient, organ meats can be a nutritious component of a canned food.
3 Whole grains or whole-grain meals. Kibble, by necessity, is comprised of at least 50 percent grain for processing purposes. Without it, the kibble would be too crumbly and wouldnâ€™t hold together. Even though cats are carnivores, a diet of 50 percent carbohydrates (grains are a source of carbohydrates) is adequate, so long as the carbohydrate sources are good. When reading an ingredient list, look for whole ground rice, barley, pea, etc. and avoid a high content of processing products like corn gluten meal. Gluten meals (i.e. corn, wheat, rice etc.) are usually added as an alternate source of protein and are some times used to round out amino acid profiles, so it is okay for them to be present in small quantities, but they should definitely not be at the top of the ingredient list. Since cats have a very low requirement for carbohydrates, choose a food with a higher protein and fat level. Do keep an eye on portion size though, since protein and high fat diets tend to be higher in calories.
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4 Vitamins and minerals. Some of those ingredients with hard-to-pronounce names like riboflavin are actually added vitamins and minerals important for a properly balanced diet. The presence of whole fruits and vegetables in a food does not usually add significant vitamins or minerals, however, they can be a source of some phytonutrients and fiber. Cats cannot convert provitamin A (betacarotene) into vitamin A like dogs and humans can, so they must have vitamin A added to their diet. In the guaranteed analysis on a label, minerals may be guaranteed individually, but the total will show up in the ash guarantee. A high ash level (anything over 8 percent) means that there are excess levels of minerals, often calcium or phosphorus, which can contribute to the formation of urinary crystals. Cat foods are much better now than they were a few decades ago, and ash is a lesser concern than it used to be but if you are buying a lower quality food, you may notice that the ash levels are higher.
The top four things to avoid:
1 Splitting. Grains can be processed into many different forms. By listing each of these separately, the manufacturer can push desirable meat ingredients higher on the ingredient list, when, in fact, if you were to add up all the different parts of the grain included on the list, the grain would actually come out on top. Be wary of foods that list one grain split into many variations such as wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat middlings, wheat shorts, and wheat germ.
2 Preservatives. Preservatives are necessary to ensure an adequate shelf life for dry foods, but some people worry about the use of artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. While these have been tested and approved as safe for use, if you are concerned over the use of artificial preservatives, you can look for a food that is preserved with mixed tocopherols (forms of vitamin E). These foods will typically have a shorter shelf life, so make sure you check that before buying as well. The food should have an expiry date thatâ€™s at least six months away.
3 Generic terms. A higher quality cat food will clearly identify the source of the meat (e.g., chicken, lamb, duck, etc) or the source of the fat (e.g., poultry fat, soybean oil, etc) as opposed to just listing “meat” or “fat.”
4 Additives. Some foods contain sugars like glucose, fructose, cane molasses, or corn syrup. These are unnecessary in a cat food. Also, check the list of ingredients for other additives such as artificial colours and flavours; a small amount may make the food more appealing to your cat, but you definitely want to avoid a food that contains a lot of added colours and flavours. Extra unnecessary chemicals are generally present to make the food more appealing to you, the cat-food-purchaser. Other additives like glucosamine, yucca, and probiotics are generally harmless, but they are not usually added to the food at a high enough level to have any effect. If you want to add these to your cat’s diet, it is better for you to add a supplement yourself instead of relying on the food.
Secret #2: What’s the deal with grain? Is it okay to have grain in a cat food? Can cats be allergic to grains? Ultimately, there is no reason why a healthy cat without a grain allergy or intolerance should not eat grain. Wheat, corn or barley is commonly used in cat food because it is readily available and provides a great source of energy and a good source of protein when blended with an animal
protein such as chicken. That being said, it is better for your cat to eat a diet high in animal protein and lower in grain-based protein. Look for foods that contain minimal grain products as cats should be getting most of their calories from proteins and fats. The ideal diet for a cat is 40 to 50 percent protein, if not more. Food allergies are caused by a reaction to a protein, and since grain contains protein, cats can develop an allergy to it. Because wheat is present in so many foods, cats that are prone to developing allergies are very likely to develop an allergy to a plant grain such as wheat, though a cat can just as easily develop an allergy to buffalo if they are on a buffalo-based diet when they start to develop the allergy. Bottom line: if your cat doesn’t already have an allergy to wheat, there is no need to worry about buying a wheat-free food.
Secret #3: Good fats vs. bad Cats don’t get heart disease related to a high-fat diet the way that humans do, but there are some types of fat that are better for cats than others. Cats require both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet in order to maintain proper skin and coat health. Cats specifically require an Omega 6 fatty acid called Arachidonic acid. The good news is that Omega-6 fatty acids including Arachidonic are found in meat products, so most cats don’t require Omega-6 supplements as they should get all they need from a meat-based diet. Omega-3 fats, however, are found in plant oils and fish oil such as salmon, flax, canola, and soybean oil, so it is recommended to add Omega-3s to your cat’s diet as they don’t get enough otherwise. The recommended daily dose of Omega-3 fat is 175 mg/kg body weight. For the average cat (4-6 kg) this would be about 700-1050 mg which is approximately 1-2 fish oil capsules per day. You may read or hear that feeding too much fat is bad for cats, which, of course, is true for cats as it is for all animals. So what is too much? Typical cat diets should contain between 20 to 22 percent fat with a portion of that being Omega-3 fat, usually from flax oil or fish oil. Once cats mature in age they tend to have more of an issue with weight. It is important that we keep our cats a healthy weight and avoiding high fat diets can help keep our cats lean and healthy. moderncat.com
Add Omega-3s to your cat’s diet as they don’t get enough otherwise.
Secret #4: Tinned food vs. dry food
CONVERTING LABEL GUARANTEES TO A DRY MATTER BASIS All pet foods are labelled on an “as fed” basis. This means that the label guarantees are for what is in the actual food as it is. However, the amount of water or moisture in a food will have an impact on those “as fed” numbers, and when comparing the nutrient value of foods, we often want to put them on equal footing, so we convert the values to a “dry matter” basis. This takes away the differences caused by water and tells us what the nutrient values are for the food if it were dried out.
There is some controversy in cat food and whether tinned or “wet” food is better than dry. While any well balanced ration will meet your cat’s nutrient needs, there are a few points in favour of canned foods. Tinned cat food typically contains 70 To do this requires a calculator and some simple to 80 percent moisture, while dry cat food typically contains math: five to 10 percent moisture. If you have a cat that needs to 1. Find the moisture guarantee on your label. consume more water, such as a cat with bladder stones or Subtract that number from 100, to get the percentcrystals, feeding a wet food may be a good way of getting that age dry matter. water into her. Cats are notoriously poor drinkers, and allow2. For the nutrient value in question (e.g. protein), ing cats to get a portion (in some cases half) of their daily divide that number by the result from step 1, and water requirement through their food can be very helpful. multiply by 100 to get your answer as a percent. Wet foods tend to have fewer grains or carbohydrates added to them and tend to be higher in protein than dry foods. Since Example: cats are carnivores, it’s very important for them to have protein from animal sources. One argument in favour of a kibble-based Moisture Dry Protein Protein matter as fed dry matter diet is that it is better for a cat’s dental health; however, unless (100 – (from the moisture) label) you’re purchasing a specific dental diet kibble, most dry foods do not 11/18 x 100 Food A 18% 11% (canned) 82% = 61.1% provide enough abrasion to 10% 90% 32% 32/90 x 100 prevent tartar build up Food B = 35.5% (dry) on teeth. If this is a concern for your cat, talk to your vet about options for oral hygiene. Dry foods also tend to be left out and fed “free-choice” to cats, which can contribute to weight gain. Excess consumption, even just a few extra kibbles each day, combined with the higher proportion of carbohydrates present in dry food are not conducive to keeping your cat slim. It can sometimes be difficult to compare a wet food to a dry food because the high moisture level in wet foods makes them appear to be lower in the other nutrients. A little bit of math can allow you to make an accurate comparison of a wet vs a dry food by factoring out the water (see sidebar above). For example, a wet food that is 82 percent moisture and has a protein level of 11 percent, actually contains protein at 61 percent on a dry basis. A dry food with a protein level of 32 percent and a moisture guarantee of 10 percent, only contains 36 percent protein on a dry matter basis. Both wet and dry foods can provide a nutritionally balanced diet and each has advantages in certain situations, so it really comes down to individual choice. Dry foods are convenient and do allow for greater flexibility for busy owners, while wet foods have a preferable protein to carb ratio, as well as some other benefits, especially for cats with health issues, such as urinary crystals. If possible, at least part of your cat’s diet should come from a canned food.
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Secret #5: Fiber vs. Filler One of the issues highlighted in the media is the use of fillers in cat food. Fillers are defined as ingredients with no nutritional value that are added to some cat foods to lower the caloric content or to make the food cheap to produce. However, some “fillers” actually contribute necessary fiber and, as we all know, you need a little fiber in your diet to keep the tummy happy. Fiber ingredients you may see in the ingredient list include wheat bran, rice hulls, guar gum, yucca, cellulose, psyllium hulls, whole flax seed, whole canola seed, and soybean hulls. In general, as long as the fiber amount doesn’t exceed 5 percent, it hasn’t crossed the line from necessary roughage to filler. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule; higher amounts of fiber can be beneficial in weight loss or diabetic diets. Cheap food tends to have more fiber and lower quality protein sources. If you are paying $20 for a 40 pound bag of food you may want to ask yourself why it’s so cheap. Look to see if the food has a lower quality meat source and then a bunch of lower quality grains like middlings or bran to bulk it up and provide calories. If this is the case then this food is not the best choice for your cat. Also, excessive plant protein is added in low quality cat food to replace more expensive and better animal-based proteins. Remember if gluten (ie corn gluten) is higher on the ingredient list than meat meal (ie chicken meal) it is not the best choice for your cat. So who should be eating diets with fiber in them? All cat foods should contain a little fiber since all cats need to eat a little fiber to help keep their gastrointestinal tract functioning properly. Typical dry foods contain between one and five percent fiber. If a food contains more than 5 percent fibre, take a closer look at the label or talk to your vet to see if there’s a good reason why, such as weight loss or hair ball issues. Higher fiber levels are beneficial for cats that need to lose weight because it helps keep them feeling full longer. Weight-loss foods may have up to ten percent fiber. This fiber lowers the calorie content of the food so you can continue to feed the same amount while feeding fewer calories. Some foods that are formulated for cats prone to hairballs will also contain higher amounts of fibre, along with higher fats. Cats spend large portions of their day grooming, and much of this hair is swallowed. The increased fibre in the food, often in the form of psyllium fibre,
If you are paying $20 for a 40 pound bag of food you may want to ask yourself why it’s so cheap.
helps to provide enough bulk in the diet to move the excess hair through your cat’s system without causing hairballs.
Secret #6: Add fresh foods While not all cats are adventurous eaters, for those that are, adding fresh fruits, veggies or meat to their regular food can be a healthy way to introduce some variety. If you are supplementing commercial kibble, make sure that extra foods don’t make up more than 10 percent of your cat’s diet. Since cats don’t eat very much, that means added portions of fresh foods should be kept very small. Introduce new foods slowly to ensure they don’t cause gastrointestinal upset. If you want to add meat to your cat’s diet, lean cooked meats without seasoning or sauces are the best choice. Cats and fish are an obvious combination, but steer clear of raw fish as it contains an enzyme that can cause a thiamine deficiency. Sharing a bit of tuna with your cat or adding some of the water from the tin to their food can be a great treat. If you are adding fruits or veggies, start small and see if there is anything your cat is interested in. Cooked veggies may be of greater interest than raw, but avoid those with sauces. Avoid onions and garlic as they can be toxic for cats. Try sharing a piece of cooked carrot, or a small piece of apple. We’ve even known cats that enjoy broccoli!
Growing kittens require a different nutrient balance and a more energy dense food than a mature cat.
Secret #7: Consider your cat’s life stage and activity level A cat’s nutritional needs change throughout her life. A growing kitten needs a different food than a senior cat and a highly active outdoor cat needs a different diet than his couch potato cousin. When selecting a food, look for one that is geared towards your cat’s special needs. Healthy senior cats typically require a lower calorie food with slightly higher protein levels, and they may require more vitamins and minerals. Growing kittens require a different nutrient balance and a more energy dense food than a mature cat. While there may be some breed-based differences in needs, most kittens will do well on a regular kitten food. Foods for adult cats should be chosen based on their lifestyle. Highly active cats or cats that have trouble keeping on weight will need a food that is more calorie dense. Quiet, inactive cats may need a light or reduced-calorie food to keep them from putting on too many extra pounds. If your cat goes outside, he may require a different diet depending on the season. If your outdoor cat is outside more often and roaming farther in the summer you may find that they need extra food or a more calorie dense food in the summer than he does when he spends more time inside during the winter. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight and body condition (Can you feel his ribs? Does he have a waist?) and use that to guide you in choosing the right type of food and how much you feed him. Overweight cats are at risk for more health problems than slim cats so keeping your cat active and at a healthy weight will go a long way to contributing to their overall good health. Armed with these secrets to feline good health, you are ready to make an informed choice as to what to feed your cat. A healthy lifestyle—a cornerstone of which is good nutrition—is the very best thing we can do to for our cats. n
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HEALTHY FELINE Enhance your cat’s health with the right products Zero Odor is a breakthrough in odor control, eliminating odor on the molecular level. When sprayed in the air or on surfaces, Zero Odor seeks out and bonds with odor molecules, turning them into non-odor molecules. Any pet odor that Zero Odor touches is gone forever, leaving you with clean, crisp smelling air! Zero Odor is non-toxic and biodegradable. zeroodorpet.com
Epi-Pet’s unscented Enrichment Skin & Coat Sprays provide relief from excessive shedding, odour, itching, and irritation, helping both dry and
Humane Healing Cat Wound Ointment and Spray rapidly heals feline wounds naturally. Humane Healing wound care products utilize a patented blend of organic ions, are applied once a day, and are non-steroidal, non-caustic, and antibiotic-free. Best of all, they were tested on humans first! Don’t let another scratch or cut go unattended; buy today! humanehealing.com
oily skin. When used on a daily basis with a brush, they also help reduce hairballs and repel insects. This spray is safe to use on the entire body of your cat. Safe for all ages of felines. epi-pet.com
For your green dog. Let your pet minimize his carbon paw print by owning and playing with “green” toys. All of their dog and cat toys are made with recycled material in the USA. Check out their website to see all the cool things they have to offer! formygreendog.com
Give your cat natural joint health & mobility support while promoting a healthy immune system. Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula for Cats features the powerful Omega-5 fatty acid Cetyl Myristoleate as well as SEACURE in an appetizing seafood flavour. Response Products, improving the quality of life for people and their companion pets since 1998. Visit responseproducts.com for more information.
Help your cat achieve urinary tract, dental, skin, and coat health, plus longevity with Cranimals’ line of DHA and antioxidant rich berry supplements. Add to your feline friend’s dry or wet food for a berry boost, or sprinkle on top of yogurt for a yummy treat! The natural choice trusted by vets worldwide. cranimal.com.
CAT BLOGGING 101 Seeking additional income, fame, and a home for all those great photos of your cat? Start that blog, already! By Jessica Nosek
’d been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a number of years. After numerous failed attempts, a theme that switched almost daily, and more talk than action, I was exactly where I started: a WordPress site with no entries. Oh yeah, and a Tumblr site with no entries too. Quite clearly, I needed help. Enter Denise Quashi, social media consultant and founder of BarkWorld, a two day networking symposium specific to the pet world. We asked Denise for her advice on how to turn a desire to enter the blogosphere into a reality—and maybe a little cash on the side, too.
Q: What is the best and easiest way for a wouldbe blogger to get started? A: It’s so important to first listen to gain an understanding of what the particular community you’re targeting is looking for and possibly challenged with and then interjecting your own personal stories and recommendations. I’d also suggest being active and contributing on other blogger profiles. This is a great way to build awareness of your blog and to also build online relationships with established bloggers.
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Q: WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr... how to decide which platform to go with? A: I absolutely love WordPress because it’s limitless. You can trick your blog out with so many features and gadgets. However, it’s really a level up from a user standpoint. Some HTML and coding knowledge might be helpful to really be able to manage the blog on your own. Many bloggers start out with Blogspot and then once they’ve “graduated,” move up to something more professional looking with WordPress. I also love Tumblr for photo blogging and quick blogging. If you’re a micro blogger [you post short snippets as opposed to rambling essays] this would be my suggestion.
Automated programs like Linkshare (linkshare.com) generate micropayments for every ad click, allowing you to monetize your site and start earning commissions without having to court advertisers yourself.
Always, always include your Twitter ID as your sign off.
Q: No one except for my mom follows me. How can I develop an audience?
What are the most important things to consider when writing a blog post?
What would we do without our moms? Being active on blogs and Twitter certainly helps. Many blogs allow you to comment through your Twitter ID. This adds a trackback to your Twitter page, which, if your comment is a great one, showcases your knowledge and gains the interest of the blogger and their readers. One tip for commenting: always, always include your Twitter ID as your sign off. Another way is to participate in pet-related chats. Weekly there’s a #petchat on Twitter and this is another great way to meet online networkers.
Think about the reader first. Yes, blogs are personal stories and opinions, but to build a “conversation” you should always add value and a call to action in your blog to gain readers interest and desire to comment and share with their friends/readers. Good blogs keep their posts fresh and up-to-date. You’ll want to create a production schedule and be consistent. If you plan to post twice a day, make that commitment—even if it’s just a repost from another blog (be sure to always add the credits if you repost a blog).
Top 5 tips for a successful post? Go to wefollow.com and enter a keyword (cat, for instance); wefollow.com will generate a list of the most influential and most followed Twitter accounts associated with that keyword. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to participate in events like BarkWorld Expo. By attending a social media conference [you meet] online networkers that can help you navigate and grow your online presence. You’ll also learn new marketing tips and ways to build a brand surrounding your blog and pet.
Tip: Positive content gets shared more than negative or neutral content. Q: Is it crazy to think I could live off money earned through my blog? Not at all. There are many established voices in pet blogging that do charge brands for advertising and post-submissions. You may not retire tomorrow, but if you set up your blog and build a strong online readership, many companies would be interested in working with you.
e Think about the purpose of your post. Some bloggers write just because they haven’t added a post in a while, but the successful ones write because they have something of value to share or contribute.
r Be creative. Adding photos and videos is a great way to demonstrate the post. Providing not just the content but also some great visuals always draws the reader in more.
t Definitely be sure your post includes share tools so readers can easily share your post with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, their blog, and Pinterest.
u Add a call to action. Encourage your readers to comment. If your post is about a new tool, toy, book, etc. ask them to go try it out and comment back on your blog. If the post is more opinionated, ask them their thoughts on the matter and encourage them to question your voice of authority. Some of the best blog posts I’ve read were open conversations and allowed for readers to provide their thoughts and beliefs.
i Mind your disclosures. If you’re blogging about a product/ service that was given to you for free to try out, be sure to add a disclosure at the bottom. If it’s something you purchased on your own and you’re adding your personal thoughts, then add that disclosure too. Many bloggers are being paid for their reviews on products and it’s just good blogging to let your readers know in advance. n
Looking for blog fodder? We’re sharing breaking stories, cool finds, DIYs, and more! Connect with us on facebook.com/moderncatmagazine, twitter.com/moderncatmag, and pinterest.com/moderncatmag.
Great heights. You might wish the Canopy Lounge, inspired by the work of mid-century American architects Charles and Ray Eames, came in human sizes. Made of walnut and complete with a removable upholstery cushion (imported from Denmark, no less), the Canopy bed is a work of art that doubles as an elevated platform upon which cats can recline. $395, etsy.com/canopystudio
Style: DESIGN FILES Good Cat, Bad Cat. Yin meets Yang in these charming Cat Tao Glasses. Each glass is adorned with illustrations depicting the opposing personality traits (Player/Thinker, Hiss/Purr) of the clever feline. Makes a great, one-of-a-kind gift for quirky cat lovers! $35 for a set of four, uncommongoods.com
Weâ€™re in love with these stuffed cats made from vintage Scandinavian fabrics. Each face is lovingly hand screen-printed, lending each toy its own character. A perfect gift for cat-lovers and designlovers alike. $24, janefoster.co.uk
Hip & hungry. Inspired by Ancient Greek pottery patterns, Dulce Dahlia puts a mod spin on the ancient chevron pattern. The resultant sweet and bright ceramic dishes will liven up your kittyâ€™s corner of the kitchen with their trendy zig zag design. The perfect choice for hep cats. $22, dulcedahlia.com
Mouse Vision Test. If laughter really is the best medicine, this feline eye chart is the perfect addition to any home (or vet office!). Plus, feel extra good because $1 from the sae of each poster is donated to Best Friends Animal Society. $14, localpaperstudio.bigcartel.com
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Informed design. In the award-winning, innovative Modkat litter box, form, function, and design unite. The enclosed base and rooftop access allow your kitty to do her business in complete privacy while the design prevents any litter spillage and keeps all four cat paws clean. Its reusable liner comes complete with ergonomic handle, making cleaning effortless and eco-friendly. $180, modko.com
Style :DESIGN FILES Stash your kitty’s stuff in style with Jonathan Adler’s highfired stoneware Kitty Krack treat canister $128, jonathanadler.com
The Calabash Hammock is an ideal refuge for designconscious kitties. Made from medium density fibreboard, the slatted components allow for light and airflow while offering a cozy protected spot just for your cat. $191, kitticraft.com
This chic stainless steel food dish has rubber accents to prevent slippage and will complement any décor with its clean lines. Shallow and wide, it prevents irritation to your cat’s sensitive whiskers $30, wetnoz.com
Keep your home free of dinnertime mess with these practical yet hip fish-shaped cat mats. Made from Chilewich’s signature fabric, they’re durable, easy-to-clean, and not short on style. Available in an array of fun colours to suit any cat’s personality. $26, chilewich.com
Handmade, luxurious knit alpaca felt throws are perfect for cuddling up on and/or protecting furniture from kneading claws. $96, kittypod.com
Like cats themselves these Bauer Pottery cat dishes are simplistically elegant and with their Le Creuset-like colours (Lobster! Turquoise! Chartreuse! Bauer yellow!), they’re guaranteed to look good in your kitchen. $24, bauerpottery.com
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Style :DESIGN FILES This perfect rest stop for fatigued cats and kittens is handmade from vintage canvas reused from Miltary issue field tents and comes complete with collapsible hardwood poles.Totally awesome. $220, etsy.com/ shop/gopetdesign
Great for small spaces! A wallmounted cat-tree gives your cat a destination up and off the floor or couch. One side of the two-part perch has a closed space for storage or decorations, the other a space for curious cats. Configure as you wish. $116, designerpetproducts.com
Feng Shui feline. Bring some zen to your cat’s dinnertime with Unleashed Life’s Koi Garden Dish. The Japanese inspired design is a tribute to precision and effortless genius. Sounds like cats themselves. $45, unleashedlife.com
Add some flare to your fridge. Cats + monocles, mustaches, and top hats? A magnetic combination. $7, etsy.com/shop/getagripmagnets
Looking for a great multipurpose piece? The sculptural design of this part lounge, part scratcher will look great in any room. $50, pet-fusion.com
EcoJot’s stylish Jumbo Journals are just the thing for notes, lists, and musings. And all their products are eco-friendly and for every journal sold, Ecojot donates a school workbook to a child in need. (Karl Lagerfeld’s cat has her own journal. Your cat might just need one too.) $17, ecojot.com
How to keep the peace in a cat/dog household By Steve Duno Illustration by Jess Golden
he Hatfields and the McCoys. Rome and Carthage. The Capulets and the Montagues. Enemies all, never to know a moment’s peace. To that list, history must certainly add cats and dogs. Or must it? Just what is it about this infamous rivalry that fuels such antagonism? Time and evolution, it would seem. Cats and dogs weren’t always separate creatures; they emerged out of the dim past, over 40 million years ago, from prototypical carnivores known as miacids, who eventually split into felids and canids, or the branches of the evolutionary tree we now recognize as cats and dogs. It was this biological split that began the age-old rivalry. But long ago, they were not separate; they were one. Perhaps, with help from us, they can be again, at least beneath the safety of our roofs. Some of us cat lovers are “ambidextrous” when it comes to dog fancy. I know I am. And there are certainly many dog lovers who enjoy a cat’s friendly head butts, leg-slinks, gentle pawings, and its close connection to nature, as if it kept three paws here with us, and one still in the wild. But for many of us, our love for cats plus our fear of conflict and potential injury has prevented us from following through on this latent dog fancy. And the truth is, cats run, and dogs chase; this reality has stoked the stereotype for millennia. It needn’t be so. Many pet-loving homes enjoy the canine and the feline experience, the pets finding their respective places, and even enjoying each other’s company. So then, what’s the secret to this inter-species peace? Planning, patience, and luck, it would seem. The successful cat/dog home is a well-thought-out place, with an owner who understands both pets equally well, and who provides them with space, attention, guidance, and training.
THE PERFECT MATCH The ideal way to begin a cat/dog love affair is to start afresh, with a puppy and kitten of similar age growing up together, oblivious to their infamous heritage. Though breed isn’t crucial, the relationship might fare better if the dog selected stays on the smaller side and has the potential for introspection and focus, rather than a penchant for non-stop roughhousing or predation. Sighthounds, terriers, and Arctic breeds, with their high prey drives toward small animals, can prove more challenging than other dog breeds, though even they can be taught the positives of feline love. The choice of kitten should lean toward outgoing, confident, and swashbuckling: a “doggish” kitten
if you will. An abused stray or feral feline wouldn’t be a good choice. When starting off with a kitten and puppy, territorial restrictions aren’t all that important, though you’ll need to restrict the litter box from the puppy, and make sure respective food dishes are off-limits to both. Luckily, cats have a three-dimensional potential, making it possible to locate their items up high and out of a dog’s reach.
THE RESIDENT PET SCENARIO Let’s say you’re considering adding a dog to your currently cat-helmed household. This is the next best scenario to the kitten/puppy acquisition. Why? Because that teen or adult cat will, in every way, be lord of the manor, the maker of rules, and the arbiter of space and privilege. Your home is really its home. Any dog coming into that space will either bow to that cat’s will, or find itself in an everlasting fight for its life. Your best bet? Bring a puppy into this cat’s world, and not an adult dog. A puppy will be completely subordinate to an adult cat, with no learned cat aggression, and no sense of dominance. The puppy will quickly learn boundaries from the cat, who will discipline it, school it, and gradually accept it as a childish waif of little threat. The puppy’s age and total lack of status will be its saving grace. If you do bring a puppy into an adult cat’s home, you must take precautions. First, the cat must be outgoing, confident, and sociable, with no history of aggression with dogs. An indoor/ outdoor cat will have a much harder time adjusting to the puppy than will an indoor-only pet, as it has almost certainly experienced some level of canine conflict on the outside, or at least cat-on-cat aggression. Any cat experienced in combat with another animal might not take kindly to even a puppy. You must also take great care that the puppy does not get injured, especially around the eyes, from errant claw swipes. If bringing in a puppy, consider keeping her in a separate room for the first few days, letting the cat smell but not see her.
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Next, use a crate for the first real interaction. Place the puppy in a crate (preferably a plastic one with gratings too small for a cat to easily reach through), then open the room door and let the cat in to investigate. Once the initial dramatics are over, carry the puppy around the home with you, letting the cat intermittently smell its rear. Watch the cat’s rapport; if he seems calm and curious, place the puppy down for a minute and give it a go. If not, stay at this stage for a few days, then try it again. Eventually, take the training wheels off and let them have at it. But when you leave, keep them separate until you know they’ll be okay with each other. And, be sure to limit the puppy’s access to the litter box and the cat’s dishes!
THE SWEET OLD DOG SCENARIO Many of us have older, welladjusted dogs, with little if any cat experience, or with positive cat experiences somewhere in their past. This is an excellent opportunity to bring in a kitten. Use the same technique as above; keep the kitten in a separate room for a few days (no crate needed), allowing the dog to scent him out. Then open the door and place in the entry a baby gate high enough to keep the dog out. If the kitten is young enough, he won’t leap over the barrier, at least not for a week or two. Monitor the new housemates; see if the dog shows curiosity, and not aggression. Reward the dog when she remains calm and passive in the kitten’s presence. Remember: a timely nip of turkey meat can work wonders. After a few days, if all goes well, carry the kitten out, and let the dog sniff his rear, then, with the kitten in your lap, let a face-to-face greeting occur. Pet and praise the dog, calmly. Holding the kitten in your lap will help convince the dog that all is well, and that you’re in charge of this most interesting event. Over time, and as the kitten grows, allow them more and more access, and freedom. Chances are you will have succeeded in bringing Romeo and Juliet together, family histories to the contrary.
ILLUSTRATION JESS GOLDEN
Cats and dogs weren’t always separate creatures; they emerged out of the dim past, over 40 million years ago, from prototypical carnivores known as miacids.
ADULTS By far the toughest matchmaking attempt would be the adult cat with an adult dog. Both have years of experience behind them, some good, some bad. Neither have had, to your knowledge, any positive inter-species history. The chances of aggression and injury for this scenario are high. Can it be done? Sure—over time, especially if the pets are easygoing and confident, have no history of aggression that you know of, and if the cat hasn’t been a feral, stray, or indoor/outdoor warrior. But it will take patience on your part. The pets will need to be kept separate for a good while; the cat in one large room, the dog in the rest of the home. A week of simple scenting, followed by a full, see-through partition allowing them to see but not touch. Copious amounts of praise and reward to both, if they cooperate. At this point, you’ll be able to predict any potential for success; if the dog, for instance, erupts into froths of predatory rage, it’s probably not going to work. Likewise, if the cat turns into a mindless warrior, the odds are stacked against you (though the cat won’t be as predatory toward the dog, and could actually find three-dimensional solutions to the issue). If it appears that they are more curious than combative, leave the barrier up for two weeks, and see what happens. If friendship blossoms, have at it. One caveat; if you succeed in convincing your cat that dogs are her friend, realize that it may try to generalize this to other, less friendly dogs. So as a precaution, limit other dogs’ access to the home territory, for safety’s sake. With luck, persistence, and the right dog and cat, the peace can be kept, and you’ll be able to enjoy both sides of the carnivorous coin. n
Your teen or adult cat will, in every way, be lord of the manor, the maker of rules, and the arbiter of space and privilege.
Felted Cat Toy Make it! A crafty cat project that uses recycled material? Now that’s the cat’s meow. By Lynne Morgan Make these cute cat toys with this easy method of felting. With a Wiffle ball base, these toys are not only lighter than those of full felt construction, but also easier and faster to make. Plus, they have a bell inside for added pleasure and are a simple and practical way to recycle small amounts of wool fleece and yarn.
ball in a random pattern, making sure to cover the ball completely and uniformly. (Set some of the wool aside to add later in case you have thin or bald spots after the first felting.) For an added decorative touch, you can wrap pieces of wool yarn around the wool fleece, should you choose.
Plastic Wiffle balls (any size, but the 1″ - 3″ sizes are best)
Wool fleece: ¼ oz for small toy, ½ oz
Slide the wool-covered ball into the nylon stocking leg or knee-high. This step is absolutely necessary. If not protected by the stocking, the wool will be pulled off the ball during washing.
As you would a bread bag, twist the stocking and use the plastic twist tie to close the opening.
Now throw the stocking containing your wool-covered ball into the washing machine along with a load of clothes. Wash on a warm or hot water setting followed by a cold rinse. When the laundry is done, carefully take your ball out of the stocking. (Save the stocking for making future felted cat toys.)
Check the ball for thin or bald spots If you find that you have any, let the ball dry thoroughly, before adding more glue and wool to the affected area, then put it back into the stocking and launder with your next load of laundry. You may want to felt it a second time anyway to give the felt more durability.
Play time! When your kitty has sufficiently loosened the felt construction, simply just repeat the process and the toy is good as new!
for large toy •
Small bells (1 per ball)
Plastic twist ties
Nylon stocking (legs only) or knee-highs
Wire cutters or similar cutting device
Using your wire cutters, make a couple little cuts on either side of one of the holes in the Wiffle ball so that you create an opening large enough to push one of the bells through.
Gently push the bell inside the ball. If the ball cracks, not to worry—you’ll be covering it with wool anyway.
Working quickly, apply a thin layer of white glue to all outside surfaces of the ball.
Before the glue dries, add the wool to the outside of the
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Check out more of Lynne’s fiber-based projects at 7yaks.wordpress.com.
Homemade Organic Cat Treats Since many of today’s cat treats are full of preservatives and chemicals, why not make them yourself? It’s relatively easy and quick, and, best of all, you know what kitty is eating!
Greased cookie sheet
½ c organic whole wheat flour
½ c non-fat, powdered milk
½ c cooked and chopped organic chicken
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 organic egg, beaten
¼ c water
1 Tbsp chopped, fresh organic catnip (optional)
Gather the ingredients and preheat your oven to 350° F. Ensure you have plenty of counter space to work on.
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2. Combine the flour, milk, and chicken in a large bowl and mash and mix them together. Add the water, oil, beaten egg, and catnip (if using). Stir well until a sticky dough forms. 3. Form the dough into small dime-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls into discs with your hand or a spoon. You can adjust the size of the treats based on your cat’s size and needs. 4. Bake the organic treats for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and flip each one so they brown on both sides. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until they turn a golden brown colour. 5. Cool the treats to room temperature and store in an airtight container or bag. Recipe courtesy of Snoopy’s Cat Blog. For all manner of cool cat stuff, check out snoopyscatblog.blogspot.ca.
Dancing WITH THE
Carrie Ann Inaba on the cats who danced their way into her heart By Mary-Jo Dionne Photos James Weintraub
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e catch her on TV weekly as one of the three judges on Dancing with the Stars. And those of us who tuned in to In Living Color back in the early 1990s loved her as one of our favourite Fly Girls. Though her gigs have included appearances in the Austin Powers cult classics and choreographing American Idol and the Miss America Pageant, this undeniably busy dancer, singer, writer, and producer somehow has time to nurture—and be nurtured by—six very important roommates. While you’re based in LA, you’re not from Los Angeles. Where were you raised? I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. And interestingly, I was raised on a bird and animal sanctuary. I lived on a peninsula. Outside my bedroom was the ocean and then behind my room was a bird sanctuary and on the other side was sort of like a wildlife reserve. I’d always been raised around animals— and areas committed to making sure they were okay—and I think it affected me. We always had two cats and always had two dogs. We had many, many, many animals. What initially triggered your love for cats? The first two cats I had. One was Snowflake, and he was a mean, nasty
“I was lost. I was away from my family in this foreign country. And one day it just dawned on me: I need a cat.” cat; the most intense cat in the world. She taught me to respect that cats rule the house.
Who do you have for cats at home now? I have six cats right now. I have Squeaker. She’s about 16-yearsold now. She’s a little Tortoise shell with an extra thumb. She’s adorable. Then we have Taz. He’s about ten now. He has one kidney and has undergone two surgeries (for kidney issues). We went to San Diego to a very special doctor at UC Davis where they have a kidney specialty group. I think there are only about four of these places that do cat dialysis. They saved his life. Then, my fiancé brought two cats with him, Zeus and Mia. Zeus is a big monster cat and he’s totally normal. We call him “just a cat.” Mia was probably feral. When she first moved in I would wake up at 2:00 in the morning to bond with her when the whole house was sleeping. Then, most recently, after my cat, 19-year-old Shadow died—I swear, he was my best friend… I don’t think I would’ve lasted in show business if I didn’t have Shadow all those years—my fiancé and I decided to rescue another animal and we decided on a dog. So we go to the shelter to rescue this specific dog and they tell us, “Oh, he’s been adopted.” We were so happy for him, but then we said: “Okay, let’s go to the cat room!” Anyway, two cats later… As an Acclaimed Ambassador with Best Friends Animal Society, why are you so vocal when it comes to animal rescue? Is there a choice? There’s no other option when it comes to helping animals.
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PHOTO JAMES WEINTRAUB
When did you get your first cat and how did that relationship impact who you are today? When I was 18 I went to Japan to be a pop star. And I was there, going to this international university and working on my career, and I was really lonely. I was lost. I was away from my family in this foreign country. And one day it just dawned on me: I need a cat. I looked in the newspaper and found that someone had a litter of kittens that they were giving away for free so I went down—I didn’t even think to bring a cat carrier with me—and there was one left, a little calico. I brought her home in like a grocery bag on the subway. And she was my first cat. Her name was Hang Ten. Can you tell us what CribCat is? CribCat was a project I did with Petsami. My friend David came to me and said: Let’s do an animal show; I know how much you love cats. I said: only if we get to help animals find homes. So we came up with CribCat, which is basically a talking cat and I am the voice. I wrote the first six scripts. And this talking cat, Kit, she’s a matchmaker. She tries to match up cats who are homeless with their forever homes. We’d feature cats from various shelters, profiling a cat each week. We placed one third of our cats in the first season. Every cat you get a home for is a huge success. But then, there are nine million more. What I realized was this is my calling: to help homeless animals get homes. I’m getting ready to launch my own foundation so that I can do more. What do you feel you have learned most about life from your cats? From watching [my cat] Taz and the way he faces his illness, I learned you don’t have to dwell on the fact that you’re sick. I look at Maile, my cat who almost died, and she is so laid back. She looks at me with these bright eyes and she’s always stretching out and falling off furniture because she’s just so relaxed. And with cats, if something excites them, they just go right after it. I learned so many things from Shadow too. I learned that you don’t have to say anything to be there for somebody. Friendship can just be as subtle as going and sitting next to somebody. n
THE CAT’S MEOW FAB FINDS FOR THE FELINE IN YOUR LIFE
BERGAN Two tracks + two balls = twice the feline fun! The Catnip Hurricane keeps cats entertained, reducing unwanted scratching and clawing. The catnip reservoir in the center keeps them coming back! bergandirectdelivery.com
POWWOWMEOW makes beautiful and lasting one-ofa-kind furniture art that will compliment your home while providing a safe, cozy, and comfortable place for your cat to sleep and play! etsy.com/ shop/powwowmeow
JARADEN This purse-
style carrier is perfect for felines. The pet compartment provides luxurious comfort while traveling while several pockets on the carrier hold Fluffy’s accessories, with room to spare for yours! jaraden.com
PETTOO ID TAGS Enjoy
peace of mind with this new scannable, GPS-enabled tag. Includes free online profile and 24/7 emergency line. Enable access to your pet’s vital information when most needed. pettoo.ca
MARK POULIN JEWELRY PEEWHIZ Goodbye Stains and
Odors! Pee Whiz is a natural ProBacteria enzyme solution that will clean, eliminate and deodorize pet stains and odors from pee, vomit and feces. peewhiz.com
Cute Kitten is just one of many adorable pet-themed necklaces in Mark Poulin’s collection of sterling silver jewelry. See all of the designs at markpoulin.com.
OLEMAE Cat napping on your MODKAT Award-winning,
modern cat litter box will work with your decor and keep the cat litter in its place. Available in white, black, red, blue, yellow, and pink. modko.com
sweaters? Instead, give your cat a handmade, felted wool cat bed that’s cozy, contemporary, and beautiful. Olemae originals are inspired by monochromatic and colour block design. etsy.com/ shop/olemae moderncat.com
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by Nastasha Sartore
It wasn’t until a year ago that artist Diane Hoeptner began taking cats seriously. Before this, she only painted her cats as a “break” from her area of expertise, floral still life, a genre that has brought her considerable success. Employing a combination of colour pencil and watercolour, Hoeptner’s award-winning still lifes have been featured in public collections and reproduced as posters and cards for Editions Limited and American Greetings, respectively. So what brought about Hoeptner’s change of focus? Well, in the midst of painting her own cats in between the usual floral arrangements, she began to notice that she could capture her cats’ distinct personalities. Entranced by the “new dimension” lent to her paintings, she began painting cats in earnest. Hoeptner says, for her, cats are “like animated sculpture,” inspiring whether caught in sunlight or in silhouette. Hoeptner’s creative process generally begins with a search through her photo archives for one that she describes as “[beg-
ging] to be painted.” She then designs her painting around this photo, although sometimes she works backwards, beginning with an idea and then looking for some kind of reference material. From here, Hoeptner focuses on creative elements like colour, gesture, and pattern. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Hoeptner constantly strives to improve her art and progress as a painter. Indeed, this is one of the many reasons she continues painting cats because, as she notes, capturing them in a way that “isn’t reduced to sentiment and cliché is a challenge.” Hoeptner and her husband have two cats, Layla and Coco, who provide the artist with creative inspiration in different ways. According to Hoeptner, Layla is “both princess and predator,” while Coco is much more cautious. “Living with cats is never dull,” says Hoeptner. “Our cats are an endless source of amusement and inspiration.” Hoeptner posts new paintings almost daily on her blog (dianehoeptner.blogspot.com) and accepts commission inquiries. n
Entranced by the “new dimension” lent to her paintings, she began painting cats in earnest.
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Above: From The French Cat © 2011, Stewart, Tabori & Chang Above Right: From Julia’s Cats © 2012, Abrams
Connie’s Book Club Curl up with a good cat and a good book
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CONNIE WILSON’S SELECTION OF MUST READS.
The French Cat By Rachel Hale (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011) Rachel Hale’s lovely coffee table book, The French Cat takes the reader on a photographic tour of France and its feline inhabitants. As a new immigrant to France from New Zealand, Hale embarked on a photographic ethnography employing no studio, additional lighting or Photoshop. Through her effervescent photographs, Hale reveals the culture, personality, beauty, and quirkiness of the country, its people, and their cats. From graveyard strays napping on ancient tombstones to indoor chateau cats with their own library to recline in, Hale leaves no feline unnoticed, even resorting to camping out for hours with treats and toys to get her shot. Each photograph reveals the cat’s personality and, along with it, the character of the surroundings. In the accompanying narrative, Hale details her move to France describing how this project helped her integrate into the French way of living and learn the language. Hale explains the stories behind some of the memorable and elusive cats she documented, imbuing each image with yet more life. With quotes from famous French authors, artists, poets, and playwrights, Hale intersperses the narrative and photographs with tidbits revealing how cats have influenced French life and art.—LE
The Life and Love of Cats By Lewis Blackwell (Abrams Publishing, 2012) Lewis Blackwell knows firsthand how cat lovers feel about cats, but in his upcoming book The Life and Love of Cats, he tries to determine just what cats think of us. Using a juxtaposition of photography, poetry, and prose, Blackwell endeavours to capture the creature we call cat. The nine chapters of this photo-book cover the cat’s evolution, their enhanced senses, the history of feline domestication and their un-domesticated wild moderncat.com
From Julia’s Cats © 2012, Abrams
side, breeds, the allure of cuteness, the healing power of cats, the superstitions surrounding the infamous black cat, and the mythology behind a cat’s supposed multiple lives. Interesting facts and history are interwoven with quotes from famous cat enthusiasts and accompanied by striking photography of felines of every breed, shape, and age. The images contemplate cats from every perspective, from macro shots of dazzling cat eyes to body-length profiles showing off the feline silhouette, leaving no angle ignored. We will probably never truly know what our cats think of us, but this book offers an intriguing window into the minds of our feline companions.—LE
Julia’s Cats By Patricia Barey and Therese Burson (Abrams, 2012) This charming and delightful book chronicles the many cats that filled the incomparable Julia Child’s home and personal life. Appropriately, it is Julia’s cats that take center stage (as any self respecting cat would have it) while the more familiar story of her rise to culinary fame unfolds in the background. Based on letters sent by Julia and her husband Paul, along with a few original interviews with Julia Child herself, the book traces the beginnings of Julia’s feline love affair, beginning with her adoption of French cat Minette, procured to help with the mouse problem in the Child’s Parisienne apartment. While in Paris, Julia’s obsession with cooking is ignited and Minette is her cooking companion, there to taste test and help clean up any cream spillage—in French cooking this a real hazard. When Julia and Paul build a
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house in Provence, Julia attracts a succession of cats, all with wonderful franglais names like Minimouche, Minouche, le Petit Prince, Whiskey-Minoir, and Minimere. The couple travel back and forth between France and the States while Julia films her cooking show, with Provence and its cats acting as a reprieve from her busy American life. In the early ‘80s, Julia and Paul move back to the States permanently and, though Julia doesn’t adopt another “pouiseiquette,” as she called them, until 2003 at age 91, her love of cats endured. The stories recounted, which mostly revolve around Julia’s various cats and of course bits of news and gossip, reveal a side of Julia and her relationship with Paul passed over by previous books, biographies, and interviews, making Julia’s Cats an intriguing read. It would have been Julia’s 100th birthday this August and this book is a great way to celebrate.—LE
Unsaid By Neil Abramson (Center Street, 2012) Captivating and suspenseful, Neil Abramson’s moving debut novel is a hard one to put down. When Helena, an animal-loving veterinarian passes on, leaving behind her grief-stricken husband, David, and their family of dogs, cats, and other animals on their small hobby farm, she is possessed with frightening doubts and serious misgivings about how she conducted her life and veterinary practice, afraid that it was “meaningless, error ridden, and forgettable.” As a result, her spirit lingers and she becomes the silent observer to a gripping drama, one in which David, an attorney, is faced with a life-changing decision—whether or not to take on an animal rights case that is outside his usual area of legal practice. The case involves Cindy, a chimpanzee who his late wife taught sign language, enabling Cindy to communicate with humans. With Cindy scheduled for another research project, one that would surely take her life, David must call on his legal expertise and everything he learned from Helena in order to save her. In so doing, he uncovers facts about Helena previously unbeknownst to him and which he—and Helena—must come to terms with in the ensuing courtroom battle. With its profound and moving message of just how little we know and understand about our animal brethren until we learn how to truly listen, this novel brings to light the “beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationship and the true meaning of communication in all if its diverse forms.” Read this book! I loved it.—CW
The Cat Farm
UNIQUE, HANDCRAFTED CATNIP CAT TOYS, CAT MATS, AND CAT BEDS etsy.com/shop/thecatfarm
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Cat Woman Before you know it, you could find yourself attending a Cat Anonymous Support Group Meeting By Suzanne Beecher
ou hear it all the time on the news: “Old woman living with 24 cats.” I always used to shake my head and wonder, How could a person let something like that happen to them? But it’s no longer a mystery to me. Cats just kind of move in and before you know it, you find yourself attending a Cat Anonymous Support Group Meeting. “Hello my name is Suzanne and I’m a cat woman.” Here’s my story. Four weeks ago I owned two indoor cats. Then my neighbours packed up everything except their three cats and moved out. One of the abandoned cats immediately took action and knew just how to play me. “Meow, meow,” she jumped up onto my lap and looked at me with those “will you be my mother?” eyes. So I adopted her and suddenly I owned three cats. Of course the other two homeless cats were hungry and needed attention too, so every day I’d walk over to the neighbour’s vacant house and feed them. Have you heard the old saying, “If you feed a cat, it’s yours?” Well, the two left-behind kitties I was feeding obviously had heard that bit of kitty adage and believed it, because this morning, right outside my sunroom window, the two homeless cats had set up house on
What to do when Mom and Dad (center) and their kittens move on in?
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my porch and they’d brought the family along, too. Yep, Mom and Dad and four cute-as-can-be kittens were looking at me through the window. “What’s for breakfast?” See how easily it happens? Now my friends describe me as the woman who owns nine cats. But not to worry, I recognized I needed help and I’m following a 12-Step Cat Woman Program. I’ve already started looking for good homes. My now-favourite veterinarian is going to keep the four kittens in his waiting room until someone adopts them. The mom and dad? I got them both fixed (even though kittens are cute, there are already plenty to go around), and now I need to find homes for Mom and Dad, too. So putting up posters is my plan this weekend: “Loving Literary Cats Need a Good Home” (I’ve been reading to Mom and Dad every morning after breakfast. They seem to prefer the Classics.) I’m even offering to deliver the cats personally and each cat comes with a big bag of their favourite food and two books so their new “mama” can read to them at bedtime. If all goes according-to-plan, this nine-cat woman will be a three-cat woman come Monday. n
Get ready to be inspired. We've rounded up the very latest and greatest of what’s new in the cat world, from cool finds to must-haves; healt...
Published on Sep 15, 2012
Get ready to be inspired. We've rounded up the very latest and greatest of what’s new in the cat world, from cool finds to must-haves; healt...