No matter how much we learn about cats, it seems that they always remain mysterious. In a recent interview with Scientific American, renowned cat expert and anthrozoologist John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, answered some of the questions that have been vexing cat parents since cats became domesticated. Why do cats knock objects off tables? Do cats get jealous? What do cats think of their humans? Visit Scientific American to read Bradshaw’s answers to these and many other questions.
Allergies are an extreme reaction of the immune system to common substances in a cat’s every day environment. Feline allergies can be a frustrating problem for cat parents and veterinarians because they can be very challenging to diagnose correctly. Conventional treatments are often palliative at best, and sometimes aggravate the problem in the long run. In The Allergic Pet, holistic veterinarian Deva Khalsa, VMD, takes an indepth look at pet allergies.
Dr. Khalsa offers a thorough look at what causes allergies in the first place, how they’re diagnosed (and often mis-diagnosed,) and what the various treatment options are. But more importantly, she explains how to strengthen the immune systems of dogs and cats without invasive techniques or pharmaceutical drugs. Developed over decades of practice and study, Dr. Khalsa’s methods combine holistic approaches such as wholesome nutrition, alternative therapies, herbal remedies, and botanical medicine.
This comprehensive guide offers advice on how to deal with food sensitivity, asthma, ear infections, skin and coat problems, gastrointestinal issues, vaccinations, and more. The book features gorgeous full color photographs and the information is presented in an easily accessible format.
*The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves. I received this book from the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is so much more than just a carrier. It’s a luxury bed, lined with ultraplush foam. The domed cover unzips easily, so you can adapt it to your cat’s sleeping preference even while using it inside your home. Some cats may prefer the top removed, others may like the security of the cover.
When used as a carrier, the Sleepypod not only lets your cat travel in comfort, it’s also the safest cat carrier on the market. Velcro positioning points that secure a seat belt in place turn the Sleepypod into a safe car seat. The Pet Passenger Restraint System (PPRS) is a safety system designed by Sleepypod to secure a pet in a vehicle and restrict harmful movement resulting from a sudden vehicle stop or frontal collision. Sleepypod puts all their carriers through stringent safety tests at the same standards set for child safety restraints.
Read our review of the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed here.
Sleepypod mobile pet bed - Instructional Video - YouTube
The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed comes in several beautiful colors, but this gorgeous Glacier Silver color is a limited edition – only 200 of these were made! And one lucky reader will win one of these rare carriers.
Enter to win a Limited Edition Glacier Silver Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
For up to 7 ways to enter, see the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open to readers in the United States only. This giveaway ends Thursday, October 25. Winners will be chosen by random drawing.*
For more information, and to purchase, please visit Sleepypod.com.
*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, you understand that you are providing your information to The Conscious Cat, and not to Facebook. We will never sell, rent or share your information with third parties. Winners will be notified via e-mail. Prize winner must provide The Conscious Cat with a physical address to which the prize will be mailed within 72 hours. If this information is not received, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing. Winners will be announced in a separate post following the drawing.
FTC Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Sleepypod, which means that I was paid to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products featured on this site that I believe are of interest to my readers.
This is a sposored post, and it contains affiliate links*
We’ve had the original Cat Amazing Puzzle Toy for years, and it’s a perennial favorite for the girls. And now, the makers of Cat Amazing have come out with a new version: Cat Amazing EPIC!
The benefits of puzzle toys
Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your cats entertained and mentally stimulated when you can’t play with them. The toys are designed to be filled with treats, and they challenge kitty to retrieve the treats through varied openings in the toys. Most puzzle toy manufacturers recommend using dry food with these puzzles. Since I don’t recommend feeding any dry food, not even as treats, I recommend using freeze dried meat based treats
Cat Amazing EPIC!
Cat Amazing EPIC! is the most intricate puzzle toy I’ve seen yet with three levels and seven sections. Features include:
An outer shell constructed of ultra-tough double-layered cardboard
Six inserts create the internal maze, which can be reconfigured to increase or decrease the difficulty level
The inserts are made with the colors cats see best – yellow, green and purple – to provide additional visual stimulation.
The maze design and game mechanics were developed using the feedback of thousands of customers of the original to
Cat Amazing EPIC! is planet-friendly, made entirely out of renewable and biodegradable materials.
Allegra and Ruby test Cat Amazing EPIC!
Allegra and Ruby were immediately intrigued with the Cat Amazing EPIC! I set it to the “easy” level, and it was still quite challenging for them to get the treats out – which is a good thing, since you want to keep cats engaged and playing with the puzzle, rather than walk away bored. I don’t let them play with it unsupervised, so it gets put away after each play session, which actually seems to make them think they’re getting a whole new toy each time I bring it out again.
* FTC Disclosure: I received this product for review at no charge. I also received a fee to feature this product. Receiving the free product and the fee did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion, or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest and unbiased opinion. The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of Kickstarter, which means that we get a small commission if you support EPIC!’s campaign.
It happens every year around this time: every pet store you walk into has Halloween costumes for pets for sale. Your Facebook feed explodes with photos of cats and dogs in costumes. Admittedly, some of the photos are adorable. But do you really think cats, if asked, would want to dress up in anything but their own beautiful fur coats?
I’m not a fan of putting outfits on cats unless they’re photoshopped. I think most cats would find it stressful. There may be some cats who are the exception, but I think they’re few and far between. I’m guessing that if you were to ask the cats who seem to tolerate being dressed up what they really think, you’d get an earful of not so g-rated feline language from them.
Does dressing up your cat enrich his or her life?
You know your cats best. If you really feel that they don’t mind being dressed up with a fancy costume or a hat, and if you just can’t help yourself, then by all means, go for it. But please ask yourself this question first: Does dressing up your cat enrich his or her life? I can’t imagine that the answer to this question is anything but a resounding NO for any cat.
If you want your cat to look festive for Halloween, why not dress her up with a seasonal collar? And if you just can’t resist the lure of adorable photos of cats dressed up for Halloween, why not do what I do for Allegra and Ruby, and turn to Photoshop or any of the numerous photo editing apps on your phone?
What do you think? Are Halloween costumes for cats okay, or are they a no-no?
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.
I am deeply saddened to announce that as of today, Radagast Petfood Inc., the makers of the wonderful Rad Cat raw diets, are shutting down production. The company made this difficult decision for economic reasons, following two recent recalls.
“The expenses of these events, along with slow reimbursement from insurance, and some distributors who, collectively, over the last few months have withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments … have made it economically impossible for us to continue…for that we are very sorry and we promise we tried our best” wrote company founders Tracey and Janet on their website.
I considered Rad Cat one of the best commercial raw diets on the market. Allegra and Ruby absolutely love this food. I personally know of many cats who have been brought back to vibrant health from various issues after being put on this diet. My heart is breaking for all of the cat parents whose cats have been helped by this diet, and who now find themselves scrambling to find a replacement.
This is a profound loss for cats, and for the raw food industry.
I know I’m not alone when I say I sincerely hope that Tracey and Janet will regroup and find a way to relaunch and make this wonderful diet available again. If you know of anyone who would like to invest in this effort, please get in touch with them!
This week is National Veterinary Technician Week, dedicated to honoring the unsung heroes of the veterinary profession. When your cat goes to the veterinary hospital, chances are she’s going to spend much more time with veterinary technicians or other veterinary staff members than with the veterinarian. Veterinary technicians are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians to give cats the best medical care possible.
Ellen Carozza has been a veterinary technician for 24 years. She has been working at NOVA Cat Clinic in Arlington, VA just outside the nation’s capital, since obtaining her Virginia license in 2002. She is also one of the core technicians who created the new AVTCP (American Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice) Feline VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty) certification. Ellen is also certified in RECOVER Veterinary CPR. Her passion is the feline patient. “It’s 100% about them first, then the task at hand, then us,” says Ellen. “Knowing their special language is key to understanding their unique needs”
I had a chance to interview this amazing champion of cats and I’m delighted to introduce you to Ellen.
How and why did you become a veterinary technician?
I didn’t really want to be a veterinary technician. I actually wanted to be a funeral director growing up. Stable job, pays well, you get to help people in a vulnerable environment, and I actually like working with people. My parents on the other hand… no way!
I grew up with an intense menagerie of animals so why not go to vet school? SUNY Delhi, the AVMA accredited school I attended, has a program called the Cornell Connection that basically was a way to get your foot in the door to vet school if you aced everything in tech school. That was my goal, I was more than halfway there. Unfortunately life gets in the way of certain goals, and instead I moved to be with my fiancé to Washington, DC. He was already here, and the job market was much better for him. So I went from working as a primate research technician and a small animal tech in New York to shelter medicine, and then more small animal medicine. All along, I was noticing that cats got awful medicine, then I stumbled on NOVA Cat Clinic. 24 years later I am still a Licensed Veterinary Technician. I have been working exclusively with cats at NOVA Cat Clinic since 2002.
What is your favorite part of being a veterinary technician?
Wow, that’s a difficult one, as there are many aspects of the field I do enjoy. I enjoy the hands on care we provide on a daily basis. I think many people take for granted what we actually do. We do anesthesia, we perform dental cleanings, we take xrays, and run labwork. We are the first people to alert a doctor if even the slightest thing is wrong with a patient. So I want to dispel those myths that techs “just play with puppies and kittens.” That’s a perk of the job. That is NOT my job. My Instagram platform, @thecatlvt, teaches people just what a technician is capable of, and that we actually are there to help you be a stronger client.
I enjoy the hands on care we provide on a daily basis. I think many people take for granted what we actually do. We do anesthesia, we perform dental cleanings, we take xrays, and run labwork. We are the first people to alert a doctor if even the slightest thing is wrong with a patient.
What is your least favorite part of being a veterinary technician?
The good-bye. It’s hard to watch a journey end. Especially if you have seen an animal start from a kitten to and adult and now it’s the end of their life adventure. Same goes if it was a patient you’ve been working with for months or weeks with a certain disease, and now it’s caught up to them to the point we have to chose quality of life vs. just living to exist.
What is the biggest challenge for veterinary technicians today?
Knowing that the public STILL has no real clue what a technician really does for their pets in the practice, and having to deal with the ego of vets not wanting a technician to be of the same caliber of education as they are. We don’t want to be doctors, but we want to be able to help them succeed and have a happy patient.
Apparently much of the perception is that our education still needs to be several notches lower. Also, doctors who think an OTJ (on the job trained) technician (in many states, including Virginia, it is ILLEGAL to use the term technician for non-licensed veterinary staff) is just as good as a formally trained one. That would not fly if someone can just sit for the veterinary boards for a DVM if they learned on the job, so why is it ok with a technician? If they are that good, send them to school to get formally trained and credentialed properly. An OTJ is only as good as the person teaching them. It’s also abusive and a slap in the face to pay an OTJ and a credentialed tech at the same pay scale and work both of them just as hard.
You have a strong interest in neonatal kittens and have saved hundreds of kittens’ lives. Tell us a little about your work with kittens and why you feel so drawn to neonatals?
We have saved well over 400 plus currently! All are complicated cases that would have been euthanized elsewhere. They are our most vulnerable patients, and when someone comes to you asking for help, your answer should be “Yes, I can help. Let’s figure out a way,” not the lame excuse of “I never worked on a kitten, “that drug is not labeled for use on a kitten,” and other excuses due to fear of the unknown. Usually “too small” or “too young” is the excuse for not working on a kitten. But, they are in a smaller body, yet they are still a cat. Infant humans get the same care as adult humans, so why can’t we do this in veterinary medicine? I don’t think doctors utilize themselves properly half the time in this area. This is a NEEDED area of expertise. You have someone coming to you for help. Either admit you don’t know how to help, or get them the resources for help. Someone is out there that CAN help you. I got tired and still am saddened to see that same excuse over and over. That is why I want to make a difference with them. People come to you for help, give it to them. That’s why we are here.
Every kitten deserves a chance at life, it just takes the right team to believe in them and give them that opportunity.
There is NO SUCH THING as Fading Kitten Syndrome. They all die of something, and I have backed up proof on it with endless necropsy reports. Fading Kitten Syndrome is the excuse term used for not wanting to put in the effort of diagnostics and treatment, as the mortality rate can be higher. Most of the reports come back as an infection that would have been so simple to treat, but no one was willing to prescribe the drug due to the age of the kitten. That is FAILURE for the patient. Age should never be a factor. This is one of my top lectures that I speak on. Every kitten deserves a chance at life, it just takes the right team to believe in them and give them that opportunity.
That is why I created the Chris Griffey Memorial Feline Foundation. I am one of the lucky ones: I have a medical director who is just as passionate about cats, and who was willing to jump on the neonate/pediatric bandwagon with both feet. Over a decade ago, Dr. Marcus Brown and I started working on babies, and as of 2018 we have a staff of six doctors who are all proficient in the care of the neonate/pediatric cat. We have a 4% mortality rate simply because we are willing to think and treat outside the box. From blood and plasma transfusions, to surgery in kittens less than 2 weeks old, we do it all. Our motto for them is “failure to treat is not an option, we will give every opportunity we can.” We have kittens that come from all over to see us.
FUN FACT: Most drugs are NOT labeled for cats, and they never will be labeled to be used on the neonate. No one will do a study on the neonate, as sadly, participants in drug studies are usually euthanized to see if the product did what it was supposed to do. For us, the excuse of the product label is tossed aside. We are going to use it at the appropriate dose for the weight of the animal. To date, we have had NO adverse effects on any of our cases.
Of course, we want to hear about Francis. How did he come into your life? What made you fall in love with him?
Francis!! Who doesn’t LOVE Francis! He was my summer problem child. I fell in love with him the moment Marnie from the Arlington Welfare League sent me a photo of him, asking if I could take him into my program because he was not putting on weight and could not grow. Yes.. OMG, YES! So small, so vulnerable, such a teaching tool.. and I was going to prove EVERYONE wrong, and he would become a real cat – just like Pinocchio becoming a real boy! I put my everything into him as I do with all of my babies, but my special cases I don’t send into foster homes. I keep them till the are adopted out, as I become quite protective of them. My life revolves around them, we form special bonds and a language of love only we speak. He is currently adopted to one of my best friends of 20 years who has Wellington, another alumni of the CGMFF. Francis is a cat with a soul that I can’t just part with. He needs to remain close, so we chose Amber and her family for him.
There are moments when a cat with an extraordinary persona comes into your life, and you know you are meant to remain closely connected. Francis will leave me at the end of October/early November to start the next chapter in his adventure of life. I really do think my heart is like a colander with all these cat shaped holes in it. They all leave a small cat shaped hole in your heart when a cat “that” special leaves with a successful story. It is more than just joy. It is a triumph of proving that they got the chance they deserved with a team that would not say NO.
They all leave a small cat shaped hole in your heart when a cat “that” special leaves with a successful story.
What advice would you give young men and women who want to come technicians?
Never stop learning. Never stop being the advocate for your patient! You are their #1 cheerleader. Being a technician is hard work that is not recognized as it should be, but to that patient you are their everything. Be the everything and don’t look back.
I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Van Ness – there’s just something about his infectious smile and positive energy that makes me happy. I was delighted when I found out that he is a cat lover, and heartbroken for him when he lost his beloved Bug not too long ago. Jonathan recently adopted two kittens, Liza and Bug the 2nd. “Losing Bug has been one of the saddest experiences of my life. Getting two gorgeous kittens in that full grown cat shaped hole in my heart is helping my reparative process immensely,” wrote Jonathan on Instagram. I’m keeping an eye on his Instagram for more photos of his new family members!