Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Five Most Common Cat Illnesses That Insurance Companies Process

Cats are poor step-cousins to dogs when it comes to regular veterinary visits.  While people take third dogs in to see the veterinarian, far fewer owners take their cats. It's essential that cats get proper, regular veterinary care, whether you take your cat to the veterinary hospital or if you opt for a veterinarian who makes house calls.

August 22nd was Take Your Cat to The Vet Day which was a nice reminder but, really, any day is a good day to take your cat to the veterinarian. Cats need regular check-ups, core vaccinations  and everything you would expect if you had a dog.  Pet Insurance is available for those owners who want to buy into it.  There are several companies selling pet insurance.  You want one that your veterinarian will accept.  One pet insurance company, Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC has recently produced a list of the five most common cat illnesses that their customers have filed.  It's a good reminder for owners that any one, or more, of these can occur in your beloved feline companion.  These claims represent about 30 percent of the company's claims filed across the United States.  Being aware of those often difficult to identify because cats are masterful at hiding their symptoms so the owner can be blissfully unaware which doesn't bode well for the cat.
Photo Courtesy of Mary Slaney

1. Chronic Kidney Failure - The symptoms can include anorexia, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, depression and weight loss. There are additional warning signs including increased thirst, acute blindness, seizures and comas, blood in the cat's urine, increased frequency of urination and an increased amount of urine. Chronic Kidney Failure represents 8.5 percent of all feline claims received by Pets Best.

2. Hyperthyroidism - The common symptoms are a voracious appetite, weight loss, increased thirst and urination. Vomiting, diarrhea and restlessness. Hyperthyroidism accounts for 7.1 percent of Pets Best Feline Claims.

3. Allergies - Skin allergy symptoms often include raised, thickened raw skin, small scabs, face and ear itching, and bald spots.  Food allergies tend to include scabs and other signs of itching around the face and neck.  Although not life-threatening, allergies can be painful and irritating to cats, as well as costly to treat. The represents 6.5 percent of all feline claims received by Pets Best.

4.  Cancer - Cat owners should watch for symptoms like lumps and bumps on the skin, lack of appetite, lethargy, excessive salivation, difficulty chewing or swallowing, rapid weight loss and abnormal discharges.  Other warning signs include abnormal odors, abnormal defecation and urination, vomiting and diarrhea. All types of cancer, including lymphoma, mammary, oral, thyroid, and lung account for 5.6 percent of all feline claims received by Pets Best.

4.  Diabetes - Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, unusual appetite and rapid weight loss. Diabetes accounts for 3.6 percent of all claims received by Pets Best.
Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

While indoor felines are not as subject to injuries and disease as outdoor cats, indoor cats can still develop any of the above illnesses. Keeping your cat safely indoors with environmental enrichment certainly keeps them safer but please don't think this means that you can avoid veterinary visits. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sooner your veterinarian can find an illness the more quickly it can be treated which means a much more likely better outcome. It's really no different from people.  Wellness is important and that includes regular medical check-ups.

Pets Best is offering feline specific insurance policies. Whether or not other companies do this is part of the research the pet owner must undertake when investigating health insurance and various policies and companies. In total, Pets Best's plan covers 21 illnesses and starts at under $5. a month.

Dr. Jack L. Stephens is the founder of Pets Best which was founding in the United States in 1981. You can find out more by pointing your browser to:

NOTE: I was not paid for this article. The information came from a press release and I thought it was important enough to bring the information to the attention of my readers.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: I Knead My Mommy and Other Poems by Kittens by Francesco Marciuliano

Those of you who regularly read this blog probably remember my interview with the brilliant and creative author, Francesco Marciuliano this past Spring.  I didn't hesitate to admit that I was crazy about his books, I Could Pee on This and I Could Chew on This, books of poetry "written" by cats and dogs.  At the time, he promised books "written" by kittens and puppies were due to be published.  

Can you imagine my delight when the first of those two books arrived in the mail? I Knead My Mommy and Other Poems by Kittens written by Francesco Marciuliano revealed an adorable cover and a clever title.  I couldn't wait to read it.

The poems, written from the kittens' viewpoint, are absolutely adorable.  They include such titles as I've Been Watching, Hello!, Tell Them All, and While You're Typing.  The poems are divided into Chapters: New World, New Family, New Adventures and Same Old Trouble.

Like his previous books, I Knead My Mommy is the perfect gift for every cat lover you know.  Don't forget to buy a copy for yourself.

Marciuliano has a knack for observing cats, dogs, kittens (and I assume puppies - that book isn't due out for several months) and translating it into poetry that you could almost believe was written by four-legged companions.  His books are for sale everywhere books are sold. Here's a link to the newest one at Amazon:

Published by Chronicle Books, I Knead My Mommy is illustrated with wonderful pictures of kittens who are sure to steal your heart. It's 111 pages of pure happiness and it retails for $12.95 in the U.S.  £8.99 in the U.K.

NOTE: I was not paid for this review. I received only a review copy of the book. The review is complete mine.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cooling Pad to Help Your Pet Beat the Summer Heat!

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us and they really do impact dogs and cats as well. We certainly don't want our pets to suffer from heat stroke.  I can't say this enough: Do NOT Take Your Pet With You in the Car on a Summer Day.  Even at only 70 degrees a car will heat up very fast and your dog can be dead in mere minutes. Leave you pet at home where he can be cool. Have cool fresh water available at all times.  And there's something else that you can do to help your dog or cat feel more comfortable on hot Summer days.

The Green Pet Shop has created a remarkable cooling pad for your pet ( that's just the ticket on those hot days.  They were kind enough to send me a sample for my cat, Aimee.  I put it down and she walked on it. You could almost hear her thinking: well, that feels good!  She walked away from it, took a circuitous route around the den, returning to the pad to sit down on it, happily cooling her cute little bottom.  She never would let me take a picture of her lying on it.  Keeping it to herself, no doubt.  But there's no question that enjoys it.  

The neat thing about it is that it doesn't need water or electricity. IF you choose to put it in the refrigerator, the cooling will last up to 6 hours but it's not necessary to refrigerate it. It is pressure activated non-toxic gel inside and The Green Pet Shop has patented it.  It comes in four sizes, for the smallest dog or cat to the biggest dog. Every pet can be comfortable.  

It will fit into standard size beds or crates although I chose to put Aimee's right down on the den floor.  If you're driving with your pet in hot weather it would make sense to put it into the dog's crate or cat's carrier.  It's also handy for pets who have health problems like allergies or hip dysplasia.  It can help them feel more comfortable. 

The cover can be wiped off or there are directions for washing it in the washing machine. 

And in case you're feeling jealous of your pet, they also make cooling pads for people.  

Aimee and I think you and your pet will like it!

NOTE: I was not paid for this review.  The only thing I received was a cooling mat for my cat to test. The opinions expressed in this post are mine which is why I choose not to monetize my blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Men & Women and Cats & Dogs

Have you ever wondered why men and women prefer dogs or cats?  Did you wonder which pet might attract a member of the opposite sex?  Here's an interesting infographic by Klooff who surveyed 1000 men and women pet parents on their website to get some statistics on the great debate.  Here's what they came up with at

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why Pets Make Us Happier!

We know that our pets make us happy but here's a wonderful Infographic from happily to show you some of the many ways they do it!   You can find happily on the internet at:  and to this info graphic at: 

Get inspired. Share happiness.
pets happiness infographic
Sign up for Happify for activities and games that will boost your happiness and help you build skills 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: The Poodle Tales

Author Toni Tuso Faber & her three stunning Standard Poodles,
London, Deja vu, and Dante

Former Miss. California, Toni Tuso Faber, has enjoyed an interesting and varied career since winning her title in the Miss. World Contest. After college, using money she'd earned in pageants and modeling she purchased a struggling magazine and turned it into the successful Orange Coast Magazine, the largest magazine in California's Orange County. An inveterate Poodle lover, with  Standards, the largest of the three Poodle varieties, being her dog of choice, she turned her writing skills and her love of this incredibly intelligent breed into a wonderful series of books aimed at children ages four to nine. The truth is, this series easily appeals to children from four to ninety-four.

"I have had Standard Poodles in my life since birth," says Faber.  "They are smart beyond compare...and have great temperaments. I decided they would be great Therapy Dogs, so we now have therapy dogs who thrill the lives of patients weekly! It's a blessing to me, the patients, and the Poodle who is in attendance."

I received a copy of Book Twelve, The Poodle Contract, to review. Written in charming rhyme, the book carries a responsible owner message and the best place to start that is with children. It will also allow the children to educate their parents as the parent reads aloud or the child relates the tale.  Responsible dog breeders sell their puppies with an extensive contract and will not sell to anyone they deem unacceptable to own one of their puppies. This message is brought home with such charm and warmth that it's hard to think of a better way to do it.

Faber is a talented author.  Children's books are notoriously difficult to write and yet she pulls it off with warmth and caring.

Wonderfully illustrated by Benton Rudd who captures the insouciance of Poodles with seeming ease, each of the twelve puppies in the litter has an obviously different personality.  They come alive on the pages. Rudd illustrates Faber's rhymes to perfection.

As if the twelve books weren't enough of an undertaking, Toni Tuso Faber has created a website to enhance the experience: is chock full of fun animations and interaction. A child can receive a message on his or her birthday from one of the adopted Poodles in The Poodle Tales "Poodle Club." The Club also features two online or printable activity books, audio eBooks, the official Club ringtone, and a new game, "Catch A Poodle," available in HD online or as an IOS or Android App. Faber has apparently left no stone unturned. There is also a video, Introducing The Poodle Tales on YouTube which has over 331,000 views and is featured on the website. A thirteen minute cartoon based on the first two books in the series is in production and should be online any minute now.

A portion of the sales of all the books will be donated to charity.

"We do not show the Poodles," Faber relates.  "Two are, in fact, rescues.  Poodles are my passion.  A series of books about them and their capabilities....just perfect!"

Each book would make a wonderful gift for a child or for an adult who collects children's books, creating a very special library that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Published by Windstar Media, each book is priced at $16.99.

NOTE:  I received no compensation for this review, just one copy of one of the books in the series.  The review is my own.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summertime and Pet Safety

With the start of the Summer season there's a lot to think of with regard to the safety of your pet.

Be very careful of fleas and ticks. Go over your pet daily and have your veterinarian show you how to safely remove ticks so the head it's left in the pet's body. Be sure you vacuum your house and every place your pet sits or sleep. Wash bedding and toys and check for flea eggs - those dark spots on your pet's skin. There are various safe treatments for fleas on your pet. Again, talk to your veterinarian. Some of the products you can buy over the counter or via e-mail can be poisonous to your pet and that is not anything you want to try!

More people are thinking about traveling with their four-legged family members and spending time in the great outdoors, whether on holiday or in their own backyard. But accidents can happen, some because owners don't know some of the facts of outdoor life with a pet.

On very hot days, your car can heat up like an oven. Even if it's only in the low 70s your car can quickly turn lethal even with the windows cracked open. To prove this to yourself, put a chocolate bar on your dashboard and see how long it takes for the candy to melt. Your pet can die of heatstroke.  Please leave your pet at home while you run errands.  If you're on the road traveling, either pack a meal or use a drive-through window.  Don't leave your pet unattended. 

Alana being walked on a harness by her owner, Claire Clayton

Walk your dog in the early morning and late afternoon.  The hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are when it is hottest. Avoid walking your dog during that time and don't ever put a pet out in the heat!  It's dangerous. If your dog begins to show signs of heatstroke turn fans on him and dunk him in a cold bath to try to bring down his temperature and then rush him to your veterinarian for emergency treatment.  This is no time to let your cat go outdoors into a cat enclosure. It's just as dangerous for kitty. 

Don't walk your dog on pavement or hot top or tar. The rule of thumb is that if it's too hot for the palm of your hand, it's too hot for the pads of your pet's paws. And tar or hot top can adhere to your pet's paws in the heat because it melts. That's dangerous. Don't try to peel it off because you'll peel off the pads of the paws at the same time!!  You can put some petroleum jelly on it but best to go to your veterinarian. Better yet, don't expose your pet to that in the first place.

No matter where you go, your pet should be protected by proper identification in case he gets lost. Dogs and cats have been known to bolt out of cars at rest stops and finding them again can be extremely difficult. You should always travel with recent pictures of your pet in case you have to make posters or show the picture at shelters and veterinary hospitals.  And you should have the name of a veterinarian in the place to which you're going. But you will also need identification for your pet!  I prefer two forms, a microchip that can be read and reunite you with your pet (don't forget to register it!), and an i.d. tag. You can have an extra tag made up if you are, for example, going away for a week or more and have the address of the place where you'll be staying so your pet can be returned to you there.
Aimee prefers to be safely indoors


With the Fourth of July come firecrackers complete with loud noises that can give thunder a run for its money when it comes to frightening pets. Dogs and cats have far more sensitive hearing that we humans. If it sounds loud to us, imagine how it sounds to your pet!  Just like Thunderphobia, your pet can have the same reaction to fireworks. Many pet owners dread the fireworks, legal or illegal that cause havoc for pet owners with dogs panicking and running or just standing and shaking.  Keep your pet calm, distract him with games and don't react to the noise or he will believe it's even more scary and dangerous.You can use one of the snug-fitting shirts used for Thunderphobia, or adjust an old tee shirt to fit like swaddling on your pet. There are recordings to try to condition your pet to the sound.

If you have a white dog, one with a short hair coat and especially one who is hairless you will have to protect your pet from the sun. He'll need sunscreen. Seeing a sunburned dog is horrifying. And remember that all dogs need fresh cold water to drink.

Put some thought into what you're doing.  If you're going out on a boat, get your pet and appropriately sized lifejacket. 

Photo courtesy of Anne Hudson

And use all of this good weather to get outside with your dog and have fun!  

Happy Summer!