Pet Food Banks Feeling the Effects of the Economy

With millions of Americans pinching pennies, sometimes it is the family pet that must be sacrificed so that a family can survive. Pet food banks have been feeling the effects of the downturn in the economy as more and more families are trying desperately to keep every member of their families fed.

For some on fixed income that means giving up their own food to feed their pets. I know there are some people out there right now thinking, “Well if they can’t afford a pet, they shouldn’t have one.” In some cases that is true, but in most, the same thing could happen to you or me. You go into work one day at a job where you’re making decent pay and you get the dreaded “pink slip.” Now what? You’re in the same situation as the senior who is on a fixed income that doesn’t compare to the rising costs of food and fuel.

For most pet owners, the pet is part of the family and giving up their dog/cat/whatever would be like losing a child. Pets give us companionship and unconditional love, don’t you think that is enough to do whatever it takes to give back to them, even if that means asking for help?

So, if you are in this same situation, or you know someone who is, please have them contact their local humane society or rescue and ask if they have a pet food bank. And, if you have a little extra cash, please, PLEASE donate so that people who are animals lovers, just like you can keep their fur babies.

Does My Cat Need A Collar?

We all know kitties are wiry, sneaky little buggers that can end up in even the tightest spaces, so yes, you cat should wear a collar with I.D. tags at all times. Cats by nature are escape artists and although most are happy to stay indoors, accidents do happen and they can escape. Because of the large number of stray cats, it is important for your cat to have a collar so if he does get out, someone will be more likely to pick him up rather than pass him off as a stray.

Choosing a Collar
There are a variety of cat collars available, but you should choose the type that works best for you and your cat. Many recommend the breakaway collars, which snap open should the cat get hung up on something. There are also elastic safety collars, which stretch when pulled, making removal easy; however, these are easy for you cat to get out of at all times, not just when they are stuck.

Fitting the Collar
When you put the collar on your cat, you will want it tight enough to slip two fingers underneath. You will want to periodically check the collar to make sure it isn’t getting too tight, especially if you have a growing kitten.

Getting Your Cat to Wear a Collar
Now you’ve got the collar picked out, it’s time to put it on your cat. If you cat hasn’t ever worn a collar, be sure that you can supervise him and that he can’t escape out of the house before putting it on. It is best to get your cat used to wearing a collar when he is still a kitten. Most kittens won’t think twice about wearing a collar. However, if you have an older cat who has never worn a collar, this could be a little harder.

You want the collar to fit properly, so if you can, try and size it before introducing it to your cat. If you cat is food driven, rewards, such as Feline Greenies, can be used to distract your cat while putting the collar on and while he wears it for the first time. Have your collar and treats ready, then call you cat over in a voice that means treat. When he comes, give him a treat. Next, place the collar next to him and give him another treat. Let him investigate and smell it and when he does, give him another treat. Once he is comfortable being around the collar, you can try putting it on him. Give him a couple of treats and while he is busy eating them, slip the collar on and snap it so it secures.

Now, this might freak your cat out and he will probably paw at it and try to get it off. Let him work out his issues with it, but keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get caught up or get a paw stuck in it. Once he has calmed down, reward him with another treat. He will probably get it off eventually, but put it back on, soon he won’t even notice that he’s wearing a collar and will leave it alone. Don’t give up! You will get it.

The Cat Coach to Offer Classes in Cat Behavior

We have all heard about the horse whisperer and the dog whisperer, but what about a cat whisperer? Well, now you have it! Renowned cat coach, Marilyn Kreiger, is often referred to as the cat whisperer. Keriger is a certified cat behavior consultant and she will be offering two telecourses on cat behavior in July. The first one is titled, “Introducing the New Cat to the Resident Cat without Stress,” and will be on July 16th at 9 p.m. ET. The telecourses are being sponsored by

Kreiger helps cat owners resolve unwanted behaviors, such as inappropriate elimination, spraying, aggression, scratching and more. She uses behavior modification techniques along with positive reinforcement while teaching the cat owner the right way to interact with their cat to correct behavior problems and avoid behavior issues in the future.

Kreiger is a certified cat behavior consultant who has been successfully solving cat behavior problems since 1990. She is the resident cat behaviorist for Cat Fancy magazine’s web site. She also authors the Ask the Cat Coach for Animal Radio Network’s monthly magazine. Based in Northern California, Marilyn donates her expertise to the Peninsula Humane Society, which has honored her for her efforts to keep cats from being surrendered unnecessarily due to fixable behavior problems.

Nationally recognized as being one of the country’s foremost behavior experts on Bengal Cats, domestic cats which are descendants of Asian Leopard Cats, Marilyn spearheads coordinated rescue work in California for these beautiful felines. She also is a Filial Bengal Cat Consultant (FBBC).

Marilyn teaches cat behavior telecourses for companion animal professionals through Raising Canine. She also teaches a series of mini-seminars at For Other Living Things in Sunnyvale, CA.

She is a proud certified member of the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants).

Feline Diabetes

Sugar diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus is a common disease in cats. Diabetes occurs when a cat’s body doesn’t produce or doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, regulates the absorption of glucose, a simple sugar.

When a cat isn’t producing enough insulin, the cat’s body starts using its fat stores for food, which causes the cat to lose weight, even though it is eating the same or more food. This also causes the cat to develop a high amount of sugar in its bloodstream, which is eliminated in urine. This is one of the classic symptoms of diabetes, excessive urine and increased thirst. These four symptoms are usually what leads someone to take their cat to the veterinarian for testing.

There are two types of diabetes, insulin dependent, which is usually treated with daily insulin injections and non-insulin dependent, which is usually regulated with diet. Diabetes most often occurs in older, overweight cats.

Diabetes is diagnosed based on the clinical signs described above as well as a blood test. Once it has been determined that you cat has diabetes, your veterinarian will immediately begin to treat your cat’s condition. If left untreated, your cat can develop ketoacidosis, which can lead to death.

The treatment for your cat’s diabetes depends on the severity of the disease and how easily his blood sugar can be controlled. Some cats with milder diabetes are treated with diet and oral medications, others require insulin injections.

NOTICE: Cat Vitamin Recall

One of my co-worker’s alerted me to this recall this morning, so I thought I had better share it with all of you and your pets. I know these vitamins are sold at places like Wal-Mart. So if you have some be sure to check it out.

The Hartz Mountain Corporation Recalls Vitamin Care for Cats Because of Possible Health Risk

Mr. John Mullane
(914) 391-0943

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — March 7, 2008 — The Hartz Mountain Corporation is voluntarily recalling a second specific lot of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats due to concerns that bottles within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this voluntary recall. Hartz recalled a specific lot code of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats last November due to similar concerns. Both lot codes were manufactured for Hartz by UFAC (USA) Inc. in 2007, and were removed from distribution last November. However, bottles from the second lot had been shipped to customers prior to their having been removed from distribution.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, all of whom are at particular risk from exposure and should avoid handling these products.

Salmonella symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea in both cats and humans. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek immediate medical attention. Owners of cats exhibiting these symptoms should also seek veterinary assistance.

The product involved is 739 bottles of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats, lot code SZ 22771, UPC number 32700-97701. While normal testing conducted by Hartz and UFAC has not revealed the presence of Salmonella in any Hartz products, recent sampling conducted by the FDA did detect the presence of Salmonella.

Although the company has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to recover this product from consumers. Cat owners should check the lot code on their bottles, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bottle has lot code SZ 22771 or lot code SZ-16371 imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.

Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 with any questions they may have and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Since flea season is right around the corner, I wanted to talk about Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). FAD is the most common skin condition that veterinarians see. FAD occurs when a dog or cat is allergic to flea bites.

FAD symptoms worsen during peak flea seasons, usually during the summer or fall. Once your pet has been bitten (even just once), you will notice excessive scratching, chewing, licking or biting. More extreme signs of FAD include small, red skin lesions and hair loss. Hot spots can also be present.

Diagnosis is based on your pet’s history, clinical signs and the presence of fleas. Your veterinarian might also do an intradermal test, this is similar to allergy testing in humans, where a small amount of solution is placed under the skin. If a reaction occurs, you are allergic to that particular allergen.

Pets with FAD are treated by keeping the pet itself and its environment flea free. To control fleas on your pet, you will want to use a spot-on flea control product, such as Advantage or Frontline Plus.

To treat your home, you can use a combination of vaccuming and insecticide, such as Virbac Area Treatment to rid your home of any current flea infestations.