Yes, You Can Feed Treats to Your Cat

In moderation.  Just like humans, cats can have treats in moderation.  The other day I was getting a treat out of the cupboard for one of my cats and I actually looked a how many treats the manufacturer recommends that I give. My portion control was about right. But, it made me want to be diligent about what kind of treats I should give to my cats.  I want to make sure that the treats I give out are safe, nutritious and can fit into the cat’s daily nutrition requirements.


Look for low calorie treats. Do not underestimate or ignore the calories in your cat’s daily calorie count. Avoid treats which have high sugar, treats that are meant for dogs, or are high in calorie.

According to Catnip Magazine’s December 2015 issue, “If you are thinking of making your own homemade treats, beware of certain potentially dangerous ingredients such onions and garlic, processed meats, and baby food with additives.”

Giving your cat a treat or two now and then is an excellent way to strengthen the human-animal bond and enhance your relationship with your cat.  Give it a try!


Hermes Helps Endangered Cats Around the World

Beginning January 10, Hermes and Panthera a global wild cat conservation organization have partnered to raise awareness about the world’s most imperiled felines: the leopards, pumas, cheetahs, and tigers of the world that suffer from poaching and diminished habitats.


Photo credit: <a href=””>Sander van der Wel</a> via <a href=””></a> / <a href=””>CC BY-SA</a>

Hermes will pay tribute to wildlife artist Robert Dallet, who often collaborated with the brand on their silk scarves which often featured cats.  Hermes and Dallet will collaborate to feature more than 70 of Dallet’s paintings, drawings and sketches of lions, tigers, jaguars, snow leopards, cheetahs, cougars and clouded leopards at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Those inspired to visit are encouraged to snap some photos and share them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the hashtag #fierceandfragile.


Photo: Hermes

For those who can’t make it to the auction, Hermès has also created a silk scarf to celebrate the event. Titled Panthera Pardus, the piece depicts a striking illustration of a leopard, and is available in eight different colors (90cm x 90cm, $395; available at Hermès boutiques), with a portion of all proceeds going to Panthera.


Cat Show Etiquette

So, you have never been to a CFA cat show and are planning on going this year?

Shows are listed on as well as on CFA’s site. Note that the CFA site has contact info for the most part and has the complete schedule. has three months listed at a time.

Below are some things to keep in mind before going to the show.

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Photo: Larry Johnson

If you are looking for a particular breed, you can look up the show flyer on CFA’s site and email the entry clerk to see if any breeders of that breed have entered. They will usually know by mid-week.  The flyer will also have contact info for other show personnel as well as starting and closing times and admission fees.

When you are visiting what we call the “benching area” or the area where the cats and owners are seated when not being judged, you will want to talk to the breeders in this area. Don’t be discouraged if the breeder cannot talk because s/he is either getting the cat ready or to a ring.  Ask when would be a good time to come back. Each breeder has his or own process for placing their cats. There may even be kittens or cats for sale at the show.

You can look for orange cages in the benching area if you have general questions about the show.  The cages are homes for CFA’s Ambassador Cats. Feel free to ask questions of the CFA Ambassador– that is the person with the ASK ME button on. The Ambassador cat is also a cat to pet and visit.


Photo: Mark Hannon

The benching area is the cat’s resting, safe area.  Do not open cages without permission and please  ask permission of the owner before petting the cat.

Note that the judging ring is for judges and cats who are being judges.  Spectators are not allowed in the area behind the judges and in front of the cages.  There is a place to sit in front of the ring.  Some judges converse while they are judging, while others do not.  If you do have a question, you can ask the judge’s assistant, known as the clerk who is seated at the table with the judge.  S/he will be able to guide you.


Photo: Kathleen Landy

Most of all, have fun while you are visiting our show!  We look forward to seeing you!


How to Change Your Cat’s Diet

So—Your vet has told you that you need to get a special diet for your cat.  Are you dreading having to switch foods for fear that your cat will rebel and stop eating?

Where's the beef

Photo: Michele Cole

A few things to keep in mind:  Make sure you follow your vet’s instructions.  Don’t be afraid to check with your vet regarding any changes in behavior or habits. Cats are creatures of habit and by slowly making changes you can successfully change your cat’s eating behaviors.

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Here are some tried and true tips for changing your cat to a new diet:

  1. This is not the time to change your cat’s eating area or to get new dishes. Keep everything the same for now and focus on the food.
  2. Be sure your cat is in good health and not sick when you are trying new food.
  3. Use the 80-20 rule.  Start with 80% of the current food and 20% of the new food.  Continue feeding until your cat eats all of the food.  Over the course of several days, (and it may take several days, up to 14 for some cats) increase the amount of new food your cat is eating.
  4. Consider warming the new food if it is canned or adding some water to dry food to see if your cat likes the option.
  5. If your cat is not eating the new food consult your vet (I have had cats pick out the old food and leave the new food) wait a few days and try another brand. Remember, any sudden changes in diet can also cause gastric upset in some cats, so take it slowly.
  6. Do not starve your cat and think that he will get used to the new food.  You can usually tell within a few days.
  7. It may take a few tries, but working with your vet and paying attention to your cat’s diet is the key.

CFA Blog Talks to Dr. Andrea Sanchez About Naughty & Nice Holiday Foods

I had the privilege of talking to Dr. Andrea Sanchez from Banfield Animal Hospital about foods to avoid and foods you can give your cat during the holidays.


The first thing she reminded me about was, “To remember that the holidays could be stressful for kitty and to make sure I had a “safe” room where your cat can go and rest.” She explained that by giving kitty her own room it keeps her away from open doors and does not upset her so she is not part of the confusion of holiday visitors.

She recommends to be in touch with your vet for an appointment at least twice a year because our cat’s rate of aging is so much faster than ours, it is good to stay on top of any health issues by seeing your vet twice a year, you can be proactive and address health issues as they arise.  Your vet can do blood work and give your cat a complete exam.  Be sure you talk to your vet about holiday eating habits and whether your cat can eat a few treats during the holiday season.

Here is a summary of naughty and nice foods.  Two foods Dr. Sanchez said to avoid:  Gravy and Animal Skin.  She said that cats are way more prone to  Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be stimulated by high fat foods. Skin from the Turkey or Chicken are also high in fat and can sometimes have seasoning which can make your cat sick.  The best option, with your vet’s permission, is to consider a boneless chicken breast which has been boiled or poached. Portion control is key.  Take a look at your cat’s paw and give her one half the size of her paw for a treat once per day.  Again, Dr. Sanchez stressed as long as your own veterinarian approves.  She also mentioned that pumpkin is high in fiber and can enhance flavor.


At the end of the interview I asked Dr. Sanchez what made her go into veterinary medicine.  She said, “My cat Tabitha inspired me when I was eight years old, I had a cat names Matilda.  She inspired me.  She was always there when I needed her and I became a vet to thank her and pay her back for what she did for me.”

Dr. Sanchez also talked with me about the work she does in Puerto Rico where she used her veterinary and Spanish-speaking skills to lead a volunteer trip to that country, where a team of ten, spent a week providing necessary medical care for more than 400 pets and teaching empathy and responsible pet ownership to 800 school children. She said, “We have saved over 20,000 animals with our program.”

Dr. Andrea Sanchez serves as Banfield Pet Hospital’s senior manager of hospital operations and initiatives, supporting ongoing improvement efforts aimed at the wellbeing of clients, doctors and associates at Banfield. She has worked in veterinary medicine for 16 years, and has been a veterinarian in small animal general practice since 2007. In addition to her current role, she also provides care for pets in Banfield’s Portland area hospitals and regularly volunteers her time to work with pets of low income owners. She is the proud pet owner of four rescue animals: cats Danny, Pablo and Felix, and dog Frankie.

It was a pleasure to talk to Dr. Sanchez and we thank her dedication and willingness to share information.


Top Five Tips for Working with a Breeder

So, good for you! You have decided you want a pedigreed cat?

Research the behaviors and characteristics of pedigreed cat breeds so you can see what breeds fit in with your family, your lifestyle and personalities.  There has to be a match on all levels.

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Photo: Larry Johnson

Attending a CFA cat show in your area is the best way to observe the different breeds and to talk to breeders about their cats.

Remember, do not be offended if the breeder wants more information from you about your search, what you are looking for a male or female kitten or retired adult.  The breeder may also want to know information about your household, your lifestyle, veterinary and pet sitter information and how many animals you have currently.  They are placing one of their babies into your home and just want to make sure their cats are going to be taken care of.


Photo credit: <a href=””>Anne Worner</a> via <a href=””></a> / <a href=””>CC BY-SA</a>

Below are some good questions/discussions with the breeder:

  1. Cost-depends upon the breed and is determined by the value the breeder places on the pedigree.  The cost  is really a contract between the two of you and is no one else’s business.
  2. Quality-Top show, show quality, breeder quality, pet quality.  If you are interested in showing the cat, be sure that the breeder knows you are interested.
  3. Spay/neuter requirement-is the expectation that the kitten will come to you without being neutered or spayed? Be sure you understand what this requirement is so you can include in any costs/budgeting.
  4. Vet visits for shots and health check
  5. Age for release-  Most breeders release their kittens anywhere from 12-16 weeks of age.

If you have never purchased a pedigreed cat, you will want to understand the protocols ahead of time to make your journey a lot less stressful and a process you will treasure and remember for years to come!





Caring for the Senior Cat

I have an almost 13 year old who is in failing health. We are in constant communication with his vet and it does reassure me that I am doing the right thing.  My last cat was 19 when he passed and I had forgotten how different it is to care for a senior citizen.   In many cases, nature will take its course and at each stage, most likely, there will be an opportunity to assess your cat’s health with your vet and make decisions accordingly.  It is never easy saying good-by, but by paying special attention to your cat’s needs now, you can make him more comfortable and even happy in his senior years and perhaps, extend his life and your time with him, that much longer.




Photo credit: <a href=””>hehaden</a> / <a href=””></a> / <a href=””>CC BY-NC</a>

Generally, any cat over the age of 7-10, a cat is considered to be a senior. Here are some tips to help you care for your senior cat:

  1. Schedule regular check-ups with your vet.  Rather than the yearly check up, consider quarterly or twice a year so that your vet can make adjustments as necessary, especially with diet and nutrition.  Working with your vet on proper diet and nutrition can really make a big difference. I regularly email my vet with questions or observations to make sure I am not ignoring any signs.
  2. Make sure your cat has plenty of water.  I am now leaving water bowls around the house so that he does not have to go too far to drink.  He still likes drinking from the bathroom faucet, but needs our assistance to get up on the sink to drink.
  3. He is urinating more which is a sign that his kidneys are showing signs of age. We have also purchased litter boxes that have lower sides so that he does not have to climb over the sides.  Of course, the other cats use these litter boxes as well!
  4. I also monitor my other cats with my senior cat.  I want to make sure that they are not rough-housing or bullying him.  I do have one that is showing signs of being the “alpha” male…and I am constantly monitoring his actions with the older cat.  You may see the dynamic with your other cats’behavior and reactions change as well.
  5. While he has little interest in playing with toys, he does still like our attention. We have noticed some vision loss but can still follow a toy if it is up close.  Both my husband and I make sure we spend some time each day talking and sitting and petting him without any interruption from our other cats.  A retired show cat, we have now also decreased the number of baths we give him and instead have focused on combing, and washing his face on a daily basis.  We also make sure his nails are trimmed regularly as well.

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Trusted and faithful companions, it is our responsibility to monitor our cat’s health and take care of them as their needs change due to age.  You will find the process very rewarding and your cat will show you his love and loyalty that will stay in your heart forever.

Beware of Holiday Hazards with Kitty

This time of year is full of festive occasions and fun with family and friends.  Make sure that your cat is safe and cozy and free from harm.

There are several precautions you can take for all to have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.


Photo: Coco

  •  With people coming and going, make sure your cat is kept away from doors to the outside.  Consider micro-chipping your cat if you have not done so.
  • Poinsettias are not lethal and may cause some stomach upset, but lilies are deadly.  Do not keep any lilies in the house at all.
  • Stick to cat food.  Cats can be curious and beg for tempting goodies.  A piece or two of turkey is fine, but be sure not to over-feed your cat on people food.  Stick to your cat’s regular diet with a few extra cat treats thrown in.




Photo: Ginger Meeker


  • The tree.  What fun and a great temptation for your cat. If you have a real tree, let it sit in your house without decorations, for a few days. Stay away from putting ornaments on the bottom branches.  I learned that the hard way as one of my cats broke my grandmother’s 75 year old ornament. Be sure not to add any tinsel. Choose decorations that are cat-friendly, such as cat toys on the bottom branches, your kitty will have her own toys to play with.  If you have climbers, you may want to anchor the tree to the ceiling.  If you have water for the tree, get a cover so your cat will not get sick.
  • If you have to have ribbons and decorations on Christmas packages, keep them in a safe place until you are ready to open presents.  Once the presents are open, put away the ribbons.  Keep the box for your cat to play in.

These tips will only take a few minutes and can ensure that you and your cat will have a holiday season to enjoy and remember for years to come.

Congratulations Best-of-the-Best in Show for the 2015 CFA/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter International Cat Show



2015 CFA/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter World Championship Cat Show

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Photo: Larry Johnson

The excitement of the two day event came to a colorful end on Sunday with the selection of Best-of-the-Best in Show Winner, a 1 year and one month old Red Classic Tabby & White Shorthair Male Manx was named Best in Show at the 2015 CFA/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter World Championship Cat Show on November 22, 2015.  One cat from each show (Red and Purple) was chosen in Championship and Premiership and one longhair and one shorthair kitten were also selected from each show. Selection was based on total points earned. The six cats were judged by CFA All Breed Judges Sharon Roy of Manchester, NH;  Kayoko Koizumi of Japan; and Hope Gonano of Port Orange, Florida who selected their first and second runners up along with the Best Cat in Show.



Red Classic Tabby & White Shorthair Male Manx

Breeder: Omar Gonzalez, Gary Veach, Suki Lee

Owner: Omar Gonzalez, Gary Veach

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Photo: Larry Johnson


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Photo: Larry Johnson



Chocolate Spotted Male Ocicat Kitten

Breeders/Owners: Roger & Nancy Brown

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Photo: Larry Johnson



Calico Female Persian Kitten

Breeders/Owners: Robert & Debbie Rosas

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Photo: Larry Johnson

Go to the CFA/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter International Cat Show Nov. 21-22



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The third annual Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA)/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter International Cat Show will offer a number of activities and events for children and families. During the event, which takes place November 21-22, 2015 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, Pennsylvania, there will be children’s authors, face-painting, agility and fun competitions, educational presentations, and ambassadors available to talk about everything cat-related, among other activities.

Some of the many things for families to see and do at the show include:

Kitten Bowl: kittens from area shelters will compete on the indoor gridiron on Saturday, November 21 at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The cats will be from participating shelters Stray Cat Blues, Forever Home and Cat Crew. Pick your own forever friend among the kittens who are competing, as well as other shelter cats at the show.

Feline Agility: A pre-entered competition open to any cat, so a household pet could be the overall winner as easily as could a top winning grand champion. Watch as cats weave in and out of obstacle courses most thought only dogs would navigate.

Kids Read Cats: Taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, authors Kristen Heimerl and Mary Jane Cogan will read from and share activities related to their cat-focused books. Kids Read Cats will take place at 11:00, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 both days.

Heimerl will present her new book, “Inspector Dewey,” inspired by her experience with an intruder “and her three magnificent Norwegian Forest Cats who … helped catch the bad guy on their block.” She donates half the profits from each book sold to help fund vet care for struggling families.

Cogan will share a love for both cats and limericks with activities related to her book, “There Once Was a Cat: Limericks for Cat Lovers of All Ages.” The award-winning book “combines the antics of cats with lighthearted limerick poetry for a colorful, educational and fun-filled reading experience.”

Free educational seminars: topics such as “Origins of the Domestic Cat and History of Breeds,” or “Do You Have a Star at Home – Showing YOUR Household Pet,” and much more.”

Visitors also will be able shop the Meow Mall, featuring vendors for feline enthusiasts with items such as cat toys, grooming tools, mouse pads, cat trees, jewelry and more.

The CFA/Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter International Cat Show is the largest pedigreed cat show in the Western Hemisphere and this global event will find cat fanciers from North America, Europe, Japan and China competing to earn a place in cat show history. Two separate shows with 500 cats per show will take place simultaneously in a total of 16 competitive judging rings. Judges will evaluate the feline contestants in Kitten, Championship and Premiership (altered cats) categories. The event will culminate on Sunday afternoon as one cat is awarded the top honor of Best of the Best in Show.

There is free parking at the Expo Center. Show admission is $11 for adults; $7 for children (4-12) and Children 3 and under are FREE. Tickets can be purchased at the door and coupons are available online.