Never Doubt a Mother’s Love

Scarlet Cat StoryThe sad fact is, there are a lot of cats that are feral. They roam city streets looking for food and are busy raising litters of kittens that many of us don’t even see until they become feral adult cats themselves. On March 30, 1996, a feral cat was taking care of her litter of five kittens just as she did every other day. She was living in Brooklyn, New York in an abandoned garage that was also an alleged crack house. It was a cold day and momma cat (named Scarlett) nestled closely with her litter, trying to keep them warm.

Soon a bystander noticed flames coming from the abandoned garage and made a call to 911. The New York City Fire Department responded to the call and quickly extinguished the fire. As they began the tedious clean-up process, one of the firemen, David Giannelli, noticed Scarlett carrying her kittens away from the garage one by one.

It was clear to David that Scarlett suffered from severe burns. Her eyes were blistered shut, her ears and paws burned, and her one-soft coat highly singed. Most of her facial hair had been burnt away by the intense flames.

The most heart-wrenching moment came when bystanders noticed Scarlett touching each one of her kittens with her nose. Because the blisters on her eyes had taken her sight, she was essentially “counting” her babies to make sure they were all safely near her. It was at this point that poor Scarlett collapsed into unconsciousness.

The same firefighter that had first spotted Scarlett took her unconscious body, along with all of her kittens, to a nearby veterinary clinic. There, they received treatment for injuries they had suffered from the fire. Unfortunately, because they were feral, they had other health issues that needed to be treated as well. The smallest, weakest kitten in the litter suffered from a virus that the veterinarian was unable to treat. The poor creature ended up dying a month after the fire.

Fortunately, the ending was much happier for Scarlett and her remaining kittens. The staff at the vet clinic cared for the feline family for the next three months and every day they got healthier and happier. During the three months it took for Scarlett and her kittens to recover, the story of her loving heroics created a media sensation. By the time the feline family was well enough to be adopted in to their forever homes, the clinic had received over 7,000 letters offering to open their homes to Scarlett and her babies.

The clinic staff decided to divide the kittens into two pairs each pair was adopted in to their own special families in Long Island. Scarlett was adopted by a woman named Karen Wellen, a loving woman who had recently lost her longtime feline companion and was ready to open her home to a new cat. Though Scarlett required ongoing care as a result of her injuries, she lived happily with Karen for over twelve years before she passed away on October 11, 2008.

It’s true what they say. A mother’s love has no limits.

No matter what species it may be.

Saturday Morning Cats

Let’s talk about cats, not a fat cat, not a cat in the hat
Not a black cat, not even cats that save you money on mouse traps
But let’s talk about funny cats and cools cats
Lazy cats and breaking the rules cats

Like this one cat I know is always in a riff
He hangs with some tough kits
Junk yard dirty and ready to throw mitts
Living in the middle of mischief… Yes! It’s my buddy Heathcliff

While the beatniks with Heathcliff are on a path to steal
Let’s talk about a lazy cat that goes bat crazy for his favorite meal
Odie outsmarting, jokester with banana peel
Slicker than his owner, so he screams, “GARFIELD!”

Loving lasagna not really fruits or berries
Opposite of my little buddy, party mouse Jerry
Jerry is cool, collected and calm
Not afraid to roll the dice and make a fool out of Tom

Tom isn’t really clever; he just can’t get it right
If he’s not tricked by Jerry he’s being chased by Spike
Or Jerry tricks Spike to make him chase Tom all night
Or Jerry tricks Tom to spite Spike then Tom gets a bite!

Sylvester and Felix even the Simpsons Snowball
Plenty of cats to name although I can’t name them all
But theirs one cat I love and to me tops them all
I’ll describe him in the next verse, then I’d like to hear your cat roll call

He’s cool with his walk
Sometimes cool to a fault
He’s the coolest cat you’ll ever meet, the coolest cat to never speak
As cool as shade and lemonade, you know, the kind that’s “PINK”

By now, I’m pretty sure you have the answer
It can only be one cat, that’s right! The Notorious Pink Panther
So we talked about cats with a smidge of a twist
Now who’s your favorite cat from the Saturday morning list

Simeon Russell

Tara: The Guardian Angel

Just a few months ago, a video went viral on YouTube, receiving over 5 million hits. It was passed around frequently on Facebook and, chances are, many of you have seen it. It’s the clip of one brave cat, saving the boy it loved from a vicious dog attack.

Jeremy Triantafilo lives in California with his mom (Erica) and dad (Roger). It was a beautiful sunny day and four-year-old Jeremy was outside riding his bike on the sidewalk in front of his house. When he directed his bike back up the driveway, the next door neighbor’s dog came walking around a parked car. Without provocation of any kind, the dog simply tore into Jeremy’s leg, dragging him off the bike. As the dog begins aggressively shaking his head and pulling Jeremy down the driveway, the Triantafilo’s pet cat, Tara, comes seemingly out of now where and attacks the dog.

Tara the guardian angel

In the video, the dog seems truly taken by surprise and immediately releases Jeremy. But, Tara does not stop there. As the dog looks stunned and not quite sure what is happening, Tara takes off after the dog, not stopping until she chases it well past the parked car that is separating the dog from Jeremy. Only once she sees that the dog is truly gone does Tara dive back under the car to go check on Jeremy who is on the other side. By that time, Erica has come check on Jeremy. The entire incident took less than one minute and was, incredibly, captured in its entirety by surveillance cameras placed near the scene.

“It’s honestly just a blur,” Erica Triantafilo said. “I just remember hearing him and the next thing I know, I see my cat flying out of nowhere, on to this dog, and just remember trying to get my son and get the dog away and back in to its yard.”

It is like a parent’s worst nightmare; Seeing your child viciously attacked by an animal. And, altogether incredible that the family cat would be the one to save him. Tara was a stray cat the family adopted over six years ago. So, she had been in the Triantafilo’s lives before Jeremy was even born. She has looked over him since the day he was brought home from the hospital, quieting monitoring his every cry. Erica describes Tara as a “quiet” cat.

“Every once in a while she puts our dog back in to her place, but for the most part, she’s just the most mellow cat you’ve ever met,” Erica Triantafilo said. “All our boys love her and pick on her occasionally. She just loves them right back anyway.”

Though Jeremy received ten stitches for two lacerations to his calf from the dog’s attack, he was able to make a full recovery. He’s a happy, healthy kid running and playing around outside again.

And, Tara?

She’s still watching over him. Protecting him from any harm that might come his way.

Who needs a guardian angel when you have a guardian cat?

Pansie, My Tabby Cat Retriever

One of the greatest joy of being a cat parent is when your cat discovers a new trick. We all know that a cat have a world of its own. They do as they please. They usually (if not all) naturally have attention deficit disorder :).  In my case, it is almost close to impossible to teach any of my cat in this household to do some fun tricks I would love them to do (e.g. wash the dishes, clean their own poop box :P). Kidding aside, I felt like a proud parent to discover that Pansie, my tabby sweetie cat learned how to retrieve – without my intervention!

She loved her mousy toys, specially this particular mousy toy which was originally part of a stick toy she decided to rip off. She loves carrying the mousy around and make weird noises as she roamed around the house with it in her mouth. One day she came to my husband, with this special mousy toy in her mouth, and dropped it in front of him. My husband thought what would she do if he throws it away. And so he did. That’s the beginning of an awesome surprise!

Pansie went off and ran to the mousy, picked it up, and brought it to my husband. We can hardly believe it, we had to do it a number of times to confirm that she’s really retrieving it. And she did! We practice with her everyday now and had a chance to film the trick. Enjoy!

Children Reading to Shelter Cats – Everyone Wins!

An innovative program in the United States and Canada has brought together children and shelter cats in a delightful and loving manner. In Berks County, Pennsylvania, the Animal Rescue League (ARL) has begun a program they call “Book Buddies”. It’s a program that brings children together with shelter cats that need attention and socialization. Every week, about 30 children read to the cats that are waiting to find their forever homes.

Designed for children in grades 1-8, reading at any level, the program invites them to come into the shelter to read to the cats in the adoption room. Everyone benefits in this situation as for the children, especially shy children; the cats offer a safe and non-judgmental audience for practicing their reading skills. Many teachers and parents are reporting improvement in many children’s reading skills because they are reading more often. Many of the children have gone from not liking to read to really enjoying it and having more confidence in their reading skills. It’s often much easier for them to read to a cat then humans.

cat stories

As for the shelter cats, the interaction with children is a wonderful thing. They love (and need) the extra attention and seem to enjoy the sound of the children’s voices when reading. Interaction with the children is good for the cats as it keeps them well socialized to people and a chance to interact with children if they have never done so before. It also gives the shelter workers good information on the temperament of the cat. This information is helpful when they are recommending a cat to a new family that has children. Often cats are surrendered to the shelter and it is not known how they react to children and if they would be good in a family situation. Another benefit is that shelter life can be hard on cats; and this program is a wonderful addition to the hard work shelter caretakers do to keep them happy and healthy.

As for the cats, what do they enjoy listening to? Do they enjoy mystery stories, mouse stories or cat stories? “It doesn’t matter to them [the cats] what the book is about, how well the child is reading to them or anything like that,” said Kristi Rodriguez, a volunteer and program coordinator at the center. “They just love the one-on-one contact that the kids provide.”

But “Book Buddies” isn’t the only program of this kind. There are several organizations that pair children up with dogs such as Library Dogs, Reading with Rover and Tail Wagging Tales. And there is even a program where children read to horses – the Black Stallion Literacy Project!

What can be better, animals getting some much needed attention and children learning to read – it’s a win win situation for all involved!

Sylvia’s Rescue Story : The Banker Tabby

My husband and I were walking back to our house after dinner when we met this tiny, skinny kitten, about 2 months old, sitting quietly on an air vent of Banco de Oro building.
We approached her and she doesn’t seem so friendly. She was very timid and a bit scared. I pulled out cat food I always have in my bag and offered some food. Apart from being skinny and dirty, she doesn’t look sick. We waited a bit to let her finish her meal, making sure no by-passer would disturb her dinner or scare her away.

Sylvia, about 3 months old. She was skin and bones when we first got her.
Sylvia, about 3 months old. She was skin and bones when we first got her.

There are tons of stray cats in the streets of Manila (in the entire Philippines for that matter) and if we pick up everyone we come across with, we will have hundreds in a matter of days. As much as we wanted to help every stray cat in the city, we can’t take them all. What we did is to join an animal welfare organization, supported and participated in their various projects such as adoption events, education, spay/ neuter programs. That way, we can still help even if we can’t actually take the cats in. We then just moved to a more pet friendly condo where Nishi and Patrick were no longer a secret and can live their lives normally and comfortably.

So going back to the tabby by the bank – we thought she doesn’t exactly need our immediate help. Having 2 cats in a 65sqm condo feels already crowded, so I thought we can’t bring her anymore. But as we spend more time watching her finish her meal, I thought that place wasn’t safe for a kitten. The building is in a very busy road. Sooner or later, she will starve and will be desperate, she will cross the street and will get run over. Run over cats are very common sight on the roads of Metro Manila. I can’t remember a day of driving without seeing one – which of course, always upsets me. We were thinking to relocate her at some park in the area, but it isn’t really a permanent solution. Besides, if anyone sees us, they might think we are dumping the cat. It is not illegal but I do not want to show a bad example to anyone. I hate people dumping animals with passion! So guess how it ended up?

Sylvia spent a few nights in the vet clinic to make sure she's healthy before she socialized with other pupicats.
Sylvia spent a few nights in the vet clinic to make sure she’s healthy before she socialized with other pupicats.

We took the little brown tabby with us and had her checked by a vet. We said we will make sure she’s free from any disease before we bring her home and then work on just getting her adopted. We isolated her in a make-shift cage for a few days to be certain she doesn’t have any dormant communicable disease before we let Nishi and Patrick socialize with her. Nishi wasn’t very happy about it, I tell you. But she can’t do anything :P.

DSC_5338We fell in love with this brown tabby and named her Sylvia. My husband said she looked like a “Sylvia” to him. She has grown to be a very sweet, affectionate girl. She’s also a born hunter – by far the best hunter among all my cats. But careful, she’s very tricky. She’s a professional escape artist. It’s not that she’s not happy, but she just loves adventure. She has beaten every cat proofing system my husband built to keep them within our balcony and away from our neighbors. Eventually I found a fool proof way that kept her inside.

Sylvia Today
Sylvia just turned 4 years old. She’s very beautiful, a sweet slime ball happy and active cat. A proud member of the Pupicats :).

SylviaGrownUp2DSC_5675

Composition Of Cat Food

What Is A Cat Food Comprised Of

When one owns a pet at home they need to know what kind of food they can feed them. Many people are unaware of how they should take care of their pet and they simply give them cooked food at home, the same food that they themselves consume. While they might think that they are doing the best for their pet, that may not be the case. The reason being, a cat or a kitten which is kept as a pet in our home, is an absolute carnivore while we are omnivores. The kind of food we eat and the food that is ideal for them is different. Thus, one needs to be educated and informed about how to keep a cat and the food is one of the best ways of ensuring the good health of one’s cat. Usually cat food does comprise of all the nutrients like carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals. But the constitution of their food differs in many ways.

Protein For Cats

Protein is required by all us as they are building blocks in our body. They make up our cells, organs and tissues. They can be planted based or animal based and both can be included in the cat food.

  • Soy, cereals and vegetable are some of the common examples of plant based protein in the food for cats.
  • The animal based protein sources include fish, turkey, chicken and lamb. In addition, cats also have certain byproducts of animals and plants that humans do no consume. These are included in the cat food that is manufactured and sold in retail stores.
  • A cat needs two or three times more the amount of protein than human beings consume. Their bodies are adapted to metabolize protein and fats and they can gain energy from such food sources better than humans.
  • Protein from animals contain amino acids like methionine, cysteine, taurine and arginine that are essential for cats as their systems do not generate them in adequate amounts.

Carbohydrates

  • Cereals of different kinds
  • By products of plants

These are some of the common sources of carbs in the diet of cats as may be found in cat food. However, cats are able to gain more energy from protein than they can from carbs.

Fats, Vitamins And Minerals

  • Fats are metabolized in a better way by cats than humans. The animal and plant fats are included in the cat food often. You need to read the labels and refer to your vet in order to understand what kind of fats are ideal for your cat.
  • Vitamins like A, B, D, E, K and minerals like calcium, prosperous and oysters are needed by cats from their diet.

Once the dietary requirements of cats are known, one will surely understand what is best for their cats. If you are buying pet food, ensure that the right ingredients are included and also check out the labels for the guarantee and adherence to industry standards. 

Diabetes And How It Can Affect Your Cat

Classic Diabetes Symptoms

Cats in North America suffer lifestyle diseases that are similar to most of the home owners. Diabetes has not only affected many North Americans today but also their pet cats. The classic symptom of diabetes of a cat is detected by:

  • Increase of water intake. Cats that differ from diabetes will drink more water than normal cats. It is said that normal cats are not very sensitive to their need for water. But in diabetic cats the need for water is more acute and they tend to feel more thirsty than normal cats
  • Urine output of a diabetic cat increases. When the blood stream gets overloaded by glucose that is relieved by passing urine. That leads to water loss and the body feel more dehydrated
  • Another symptom of diabetes in cat is similar to that in humans and that is an increased appetite. The mechanism of hunger is triggered due to the different metabolic processes taking place. When there is loss of glucose from the body, the brain triggers the hunger syndrome. That leads to an increase in appetite of the cat.
  • Due to the deficiency of insulin, the building of proteins from amino acids is deterred. Thus, proteins and muscle breakdown in cats and that leads to weight loss.
  • Some cats can experience chronic vomiting as well as diarrhea symptoms

Taking The Cat To The Vet

When you are suspecting your cat or kitten to be ill or diabetic, you need to take them to the vet for a proper examination. For human beings blood sugar is easily detected from the blood test. However, in cats, their blood sugar levels rise drastically when they are stressed and that includes the time frame that a vet takes to draw blood from them. The testing of the urine for glucose levels is a more sensitive and difficult test. Often, due to other renal diseases, there could be a leak out of glucose in the urine.

Diagnosing Diabetes In Cats

There is a combination of tests done in order to determine diabetes in cats.

  • In addition to blood and urine tests, serum fructosamine is a test that is also performed.
  • In such a test, a glucose and amino acid compound in the blood is tested which stays in the blood for 2 to 3 weeks and can provide information regarding the level of blood sugar over time.
  • That allows vets to differentiate between the diabetes mellitus symptoms and the stress related blood sugar rises in the body.

Treatment Of Diabetes In Cats

Treatment for diabetes in cats is unique for every breed.

  • The first consideration is the diet where the goal of the diet has to be to maintain the ideal body weight of the cat and to keep the blood glucose levels at normal.
  • If a cat is obese it should be fed about sixty to seventy percent of the caloric requirement in order to reduce body weight
  • An emaciated cat has to be put on a high calorie diet

Get Your Cat Off The Dinner Table

Your Pet Wants To Taste Your Food?

Most of the cat owners have a hard time resisting their pets from offering them special treats from their dinner table. However those who are experienced in keeping cats know that human food can be unsafe for their pet as that is different from the kind of nutritional needs that felines have.

Digestive System Of Cats

Even if a cat seems to love a cooked food item in your home it can wreck havoc with their digestive system and weaken their system as well. Many people think that there are a lot of things that one cannot feed their cat. However if you refer to special doctors or vets, they will be able to tell you that the list is not as long as one may think. If you keep these names in mind you will ensure that your cat gets the occasional treat without spoiling their system.

What You Should Not Feed The Cat

Here is a list of items that you should not feed your cat at all, not even in small doses:

  • Onion And Garlic

These two ingredients form the basis of most of our cooked meals at home. When you have incorporated considerable amount of such ingredients in a dish, it is best to keep it away from your pet. They might be inquisitive about any new dishes that you sit down to try at your dinner table. But you need to be firm and offer them something else that would suit their constitution better.

  • Grapes Or Raisins

We often think that uncooked or raw food items are safer for animals and we do not see any reason why they should not be offered some. However, felines have certain allergies which one should know better to keep their pets in good condition. Among fruits, grapes or raisins should not be fed to them as that can create havoc with their digestive system.

  • Sugary Treats

Your children may be tempted to share their chocolates or other sugary treats to their pets. While the cat may eagerly lap it up, it is best to keep them away from such food items. One needs to teach their children how to take care of the pets in the home and that includes teaching them what to feed them and what not.

  • Alcohol, Caffeinated Drinks And Milk

While feeding alcohol to a cat can be a rare occurrence and an accident in most cases, do not offer them caffeinated or aerated drinks as well. Also, cats are lactose intolerant. We are often misled into thinking that cats love milk but that is not the case.

Finding Help And Advice

It is best to refer to a vet in order to get a list of the items that you cat may or may not have. There are websites that show which foods can be fed to cats in smaller doses. These articles are particularly helpful for owners to understand how to treat their pet at home.