Thursday, April 28, 2016

MEOW: A Book of Happiness for Cat Lovers - Book Review


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I don't often review books as you've no doubt noticed but MEOW: A Book of Happiness for Cat Lovers was screaming to be read. It's a very simple concept, really, quotes about cats from famous people, each accompanied by a beautiful color photo of a cat.

First published in 2014 in Australia and New Zealand, it has finally been released in the U.S. and Canada. MEOW has been brought out here in paperback, however, from the size and look it is a coffee table book. It was likely originally a Hardcover book. According to the press release, it was written by a cat loving book editor, Anouska Jones. I kept looking for her byline in the book since it wasn't on the cover but couldn't seem to locate it. 


The book opens with an introduction, the only part of the book specifically written for the book.  I was pleased to see Jones' enthusiasm for cats and can believe that she wrote it with her beloved cat on her desk. In the midst of describing cats is the one word with which I found fault - she gave in to the Old Wives' Tale and referred to cats as "independent."  This is a total misconception since cats are independent hunters not independent companions. It's hard to say why so many people don't identify their cat's play for attention for what it is. You're reading and the cat is on the book. You're at the computer and the cat is walking across the keyboard. You take a nap and your cat is on top of you. These are ways of expressing how much your cat wants to be with you. Those who know their unconditional love and appreciate cats will love this book.


That said, the book is wonderful. Anouska Jones has compiled some of everyone's favorite quotes about cats from such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Jules Verne, Pablo Picasso and Mark Twain. Each quote has a gorgeous color photo on the facing page. 


MEOW A Book of Happiness for Cat Owners will delight cat lovers who will find the quotes resonating with them as they enjoy the beautiful cat photographs. This delightful book would make a wonderful gift for a cat loving friend or for yourself. You can put it out on your coffee table or on the nightstand in your guest room. 


MEOW A Book of Happiness for Cat Owners by Anouska Jones is published by EXISLE and distributed in the U.S. by QDS. 

ISBN: 978  925335 08 8    March 2016
$11.95 in the U.S  $13.99 in Canada   
Paperback   160 Pages

http://www.amazon.com/Meow-book-happiness-cat-lovers/dp/1925335089


 NOTE:  I was not monetarily compensated for this book review.  I received a review copy of the book in order to read it for review.  The opinions expressed in this blog post review are mine alone.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Whisker Stress & Last Week's Contest Winners!



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Vibrissae. That is the technical name for a cat's whiskers. These amazing whiskers are not what you think. They are not fancy decorations, or just facial hair growth. They are embedded quite deeply into the cat and reach the muscular and nervous systems, providing a truly remarkable sense of their surroundings. Did you ever wonder how your cat can find his way around in the the dark when you are stumbling until you see the night light? Her whiskers tell her everything she needs to know.  They are extremely sensitive and you may also notice some sticking up like eyebrows. They are extremely sensitive.  If you didn't know this before, I want to you to know it now because, as a cat owner, you must be aware of their sensitivity in order to keep kitty happy and healthy. The position of your cat's whiskers will also tell you what her mood is like. If she's chasing a toy or another cat around the house, you'll see that her whiskers are forward, as they will be when she's startled. When she's relaxed, her whiskers will be in a normal position.  


Photo Courtesy of Lisette Brodey

What has made me even more aware of this sensitivity and the thought that my readers might not understand, was a recent trip to my local pet supply store, part of a large National chain. I was buying food for Aimee and as I came around the aisle, I saw and end cap display of cat dishes. The problem with this prominent display is that there were only a couple of dishes - almost the entire display consisted of bowls, may of them with cat designs on them. Innocent owners buy them without knowing that that's the last thing you should buy for your cat. It's nearly impossible to find a photo of a proper feeding dish for a cat. They are almost exclusively bowls. Why is this wrong?
Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

Cats are not dogs. Dogs do very well eating from a bowl. Cats, however, find their very sensitive whiskers rubbing against the bowl with every mouthful of food. Is it any wonder that some of these cats scoop out the food with their paw and put it on the floor to eat? Owners think this is some sort of cat trick, or a weird idiosyncrasy. No, it's not. The cat cannot be comfortable eating from a bowl. Imagine having something hurt you every time you ate. You wouldn't be very happy, would you? It puts stress on the cat.

The correct feeding dish for a cat is wider and has very low sides, or you can use a plate. Plates don't have to match your dinnerware. You can find perfectly acceptable plates in discount stores. Be sure that they are safe for you cat.  

As for the water dish, a neighbor recently asked me why Aimee's dish could be a swimming pool for a  cat whose weight hovers between 8 and 9 pounds. Simple: whisker stress. So what if it was meant for a big dog?  She loves it. The same with a water fountain. The big one is preferable to a small one for a cat's whiskers.
Photo Courtesy of Shara Rendell-Smock

And one more warning: Do NOT ever cut your cat's whiskers! Don't interfere with feline whiskers. You can look, you can admire them, but for cat's sake, leave them alone!

Now for the winners of last week's contest

Each has won one of Morris The Cat's Well-Groomed Kitty Kits Provided by Morris and his human friends at 9 Lives Cat Food!  

Drum Roll Please!  

And The Winners Are:

Lisette Brodey

and

Monica!

Congratulations, Ladies!  Please e-mail me via my website: www.darlenearden.com with your mailing address so Morris can have his personal assistants get a kit off to each of you!  Thank you for entering the contest!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Getting Spiffy with Morris the Cat's Grooming Tips & Two Contests!!

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With spring coming up and after that, the dreaded bathing suit season (eek!), I know everyone's searching for ways to look their best. And my readers have a 'paw up' on the competition because we're about to get some style and wellness tips from someone who knows a thing or two about looking awesome... I'm talking, of course, about Morris the Cat. I love Morris. He has such style, such panache.



In case you're not familiar with this illustrious feline, Morris is the original celebricat, starring in over 50 9Lives cat food commercials from the 1970s up through today. He's even been called "the Clark Gable of cats," and that's about as debonair as it gets! In his "Dear Morris" column, he'll be answering some readers' burning questions about good grooming, and he's also giving away a human-sized, 9Lives-branded bathrobe, a $300 Spa Finder gift card, and a whole year's supply of 9Lives cat food! Enter at his website: http://prospurr.9lives.com/  




Dear Hairy Harry,


If your cat is shedding on you, the thing you should tell him is... "thank you!" Being covered in cat fur means you get to look like a cat, which means you get to look more awesome. However, if this isn't your desired effect (although I can't imagine why it wouldn't be), try wearing clothes the same color as your cat to camouflage the fur. Kind of like a cat camouflages himself in clean laundry--hey, come to think of it, that could be why you're always covered in fur! You can also try brushing Baxter a couple times a week to remove excess fur and redistribute the natural oils on his skin--now, that's what I call a win-win!


Dear Morris,



My teenage daughter spends 45 minutes in front of the mirror every day primping and brushing her hair. I think this is excessive but she tells me it's what makes her happy. Morris, since you always look fabulous, I thought you could give me some advice--what's the best way to get her to spend less time in front of the mirror?

Sincerely,

Frustrated Mamma






Dear Fur-ustrated Mamma,


I know it may seem like I just wake up looking this good, but believe it or not, I put in lots of long hours licking my fur. In fact, as a cat, I groom up to 50% of the time I'm awake. Grooming not only makes you look good, it can be used for meditation--kind of like focusing really hard on a red laser dot. So I say, take the time you need to feel your best--whether it's 5 minutes or 45. It's a very purrsonal choice. 


Dear Morris,

Lately I've been looking slightly less than my best, which is unfortunate because I just started a new job and I wanted to make a good first impression. But instead, my eyes are all puffy and I just haven't been my chipper self. I'm not sure how to get out of this style rut. Morris, can you help me get my grooming groove back?

Sincerely,

Fashion Faux-Paw


Dear Fashion Faux-Paw.



Let me shed some light (and some fur) on this situation. The main thing I took away from your question is that you're STRESSED! Starting a new job can be stressful and can lead to falling out of typical routines and lack of sleep.




 I should know because every time I start shooting a new commercial, I only sleep 15 hours a day instead of 16. But don't despair! There's one failsafe way to calm those nerves and give you back your glow. I'm talking about a massage, specifically a kitty massage. We kitties LOVE to give massages--well, we think of it more as kneading but you humans don't seem to know the difference. A kitty massage will help you relax, and in turn, feel and look better. Plus, it's purr-ty much impossible to feel stressed when you have the love of a cat.


There you have it! Thank you, Morris the Cat, for sharing this invaluable grooming advice. Readers, how many of you have a good-looking, well-groomed feline at home? You could win them a whole year's supply of delicious 9Lives cat food, plus a human-sized, 9Lives-branded bathrobe and Spa Finder gift card for you! Just go to Morris' Live Well & Prospurr website [http://prospurr.9lives.com/] to enter. Then, 'paw it forward' by tweeting #MorrisFeeds, and Morris will donate a bowl of 9Lives cat food to a kitty in need.


You've read this far. Now, here's an extra contest!  Morris the Cat is giving two of my lucky readers a Well-Groomed Kitty Kit!  To enter, post here and tell me why you and your cat want one of Morris' Well-Groomed Kitty Kits thanks to Morris and his friends at 9 Lives Cat Food! You have until Sunday to post. Winners will be announced on Monday!! This contest is open to U.S. Residents Only.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Some Fun & A Good Cause for Puppy Day & Beyond !!!!


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Happy National Puppy Day!  Puppies are just so darned cute, sweet and lovable. They may be a lot of work but they bring such sunshine into people's lives! Just look at that cute little Corgi face in the picture above - how long before he grows into those ears?!  Too adorable for words.

If you've got a case of the Wednesdays - or any other day - Purina Puppy Chow and Soul Pancake have a perfect cure for that!  Puppies!!  See what happens when you unleash #ThePowerofPuppies at a Preschool, Retirement Home and a Gym. Watch puppies transform an ordinary day into something happy. Share this link with friends: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJoE_lNQdHU&feature=youtu.be

Help celebrate #PowerofPuppies  For ever video view (and oh, how it will make you and your friends smile!) Puppy Chow will donate one pound of Puppy Chow Natural to Rescue Bank. Up to 500,000 pounds of food will be donated to feed puppies across the country!  

Purina Puppy Chow Natural is a new complete and balanced for puppies that's made without any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. 

Please share the link to the video with friends and family to increase donations to Rescue Bank!

On another fun note, Next Door, a private social network used by more than 95,000 U.S. Neighbors, has shared a graphic showing the most popular dog names by breed that come from within Next Door's members. It doesn't include dogs of mixed heritage. This by no means reflects all other pet owners in the country but I'm sharing it just for fun!


NOTE: I HAVE NOT BEEN PAID BY ANY COMPANY MENTIONED IN THIS BLOG POST.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Collars and Leads and Futons, Oh My!

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If you know me, you know I prefer Harnesses to collars. I also like really nice accessories for dogs and cats. If you're going to buy something, I believe in buying quality harnesses, leads, beds, etc., for your beloved companions. The simple truth is that if you can afford it, it is an investment and much less expensive in the end because you don't have to replace the item unless you want to. Sometimes it's just fun to choose more than one design for any number of reasons: seasonal, holiday, wedding and more.


One such place to find great products for your dogs and/or cats, is Up Country. The bonus for those who like to buy products Made in America to support our own economy, Up Country's stunning collars are made in Rhode Island where the company is based.


Over 30 employees design, sew, pack and ship their products to customers around the world, and that product line keeps expanding. You can shop by item type or by theme. You can choose matching collars or harnesses and leads for various holidays as well as weddings and a wide range of designs. Surfing the UpCountry website is a lot of fun with their drop-down menus, clean website design and easy surfing/shopping. If there is a problem, it's choosing which design(s) to purchase. A size chart gives you all of the measurements and equivalent sizes. Their products are made to last a lifetime.  


Along with the wonderful designs on the website, Up Country can help you design your own custom design. This is fantastic for businesses of all kinds. How neat to have your own design on products which becomes a form of subtle advertising for your business when you have branded products that are specific to your business. Promoting schools, clubs and resorts along with businesses.


"At our very core, Up Country is committed to giving back to the community, both in our backyard and far away. It's a natural extension of who we are to have a grass roots approach to giving, choosing the organizations we support carefully. One thing remains through our work with charities of all sizes, and that is our concern for the well-being of animals everywhere," stated Alice Nichols, President and Founder of Up Country, Inc.


There is also a link on the Up Country website to retail outlets where their products are sold. I warn you that you're going to have a wonderfully hard time choosing from among the wonderful designs. 


I have not been paid to say this. I share what I like with my readers and always say exactly what I mean. It's always up to my readers to decide if they agree.




 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Meet Mike McCartney - A Special Dog Cartoonist

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The Cartoonist at Work

If you're anything like me, you first discovered Mike McCartney's wonderful cartoons at a dog show. He has an uncanny way of capturing a breed's personality and the cartoons can be found on so many useful items. His cartoons have grown to include mixed breeds - look under Mutts. From the world's worst kept secret of dog fanciers, and my first McCartney item (a Yorkshire Terrier mouse pad if you're wondering) his work has expanded to include dogs of all descriptions doing virtually every dog sport in their own special way, as well as some other fun cartoons.

An artist all of his life, and pretty darned serious about it when he hung out with other talented classmates in the 6th Grade, he finally accepted that he is a cartoonist. Dogs, however, are obviously his passion, even when he was packing the car and driving to Art Shows far and wide. 


In 1979, when he and his wife, DeDe, moved he got a job at a shipyard. It lasted a year before he was laid off. With a wife and two children, he knew he had to find an immediate way to earn a living. In 1991 he began drawing caricatures of people for $4. (If you're reading this and have one of those, I want to know about it!) at Festivals. After more than 25 years there are still people who remember him from those days. Other work during this period included a brief time drawing animals for a greeting card company and another drawing designs for a bar napkin company. 

The dog cartoons had their roots with his mother and her Great Danes. He drew Great Dane cards for her birthday and Mother's Day.  His mother suggested he come to a Great Dane show she was attending and draw caricatures. 

"I thought I was going to draw the people but they wanted me to draw their dogs instead," he recalls. "All of a sudden they wanted shirts, they wanted mugs, they wanted anything with their breed on it." At that point, he knew he had something. The McCartneys attended an all-breed show where someone asked, "if I could draw a Whippet. I didn't even know what a Whippet was."


It became a family business. The first product was black and white cards. He, DeDe and their kids, Butch and Stevi, cut costs by sitting around the table folding and packaging cards. He about started with learning about more breeds and then had to figure out which breeds were more popular and would sell more cards. The business grew from there with DeeDee handling the business end. Today he has wholesalers all over the world. 

Seeing one of his shirts on someone at the top of a mountain in Washington State, he was surprised but all he said was, "Nice shirt."

You don't have to go to a dog show to buy his wonderful cartoons on an array of items. Just visit his website, McCartneysDogs, and surf around. You can choose by Breed (or Mutt) to see the items available in what may be more than one cartoon design, or you can choose by item. They make great gifts for dog loving friends of all stripes.

 I've usually picked up some items in various breeds to give as holiday or birthday gifts. Now you don't even have to leave the house to buy some great items.
"I have yet to see all four corners of my website," he told me.



Always inspired to start new projects in the future, finding time to carry them out will probably take a bit of doing!

Thanks, Mike McCartney, for sharing all of your wonderful dog cartoons with us. 


* All cartoons shown here are Copyright Mike McCartney.  You may share the entire blog post but NOT the individual cartoons. Thank You.

Friday, February 26, 2016

2016 Cat Oscars: Meow Mix Announces the Year's Best Internet Cat Moments

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Award show season is here and while there are certainly some human actors worthy of purr-aise, I think it's about time we acknowledge those creatures who know the best way to work a red carpet... is to shed on it!

I recently partnered with Meow Mix [ https://irresistiblemoments.com/] cat food to recognize the year's top four-legged performances in The 2016 Cat's Meow Awards [https://irresistiblemoments.com/acatemy].

That's right – this year's most anticipated awards show honors a flurry of furry faces. 

Meow Mix brand received more than 25,000 submissions from all over the country for the Cat's Meow Awards [ https://irresistiblemoments.com/acatemy], which was established to celebrate the best cat moments of the year and the one-of-a-kind bond that only cats and humans share.

View clips from The 2016 Cat's Meow Awards show below:

'Best Cat Napper':



'Best Kitty Hijinks':


Wild Cat Card:

Congratulations to the all of the 2016 Cat's Meow Awards finalists and winners! 



Actually, cats couldn't care less about glory or fame - they already know they're wonderful... that's why Meow Mix brand created a new line of Irresistibles treats so that you can give them the award they're really looking for. With real meat, a wide variety of flavors, and both soft and crunchy textures, your cat will be sure to thank you in his acceptance speech.

Go to https://irresistiblemoments.com/ and share your cat's irresistible moment to get a FREE bag and see tons of other great cat content.