The Importance of Microchipping


Microchip / photo: fdecomite via Foter / CC BY

Nobody likes to think of worst-case scenarios…. But waiting until something happens is too late!

Even with indoor-only animals, your pets may unexpectedly end up outside – whether they dash for the door when friends come for a visit, run away from a pet sitter, or are frightened by fireworks and escape, a microchip can be a lifesaver.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association statement on microchips is:

“Even if a cat never goes outside there is need for individual identification in case of accidental escape, disaster, theft, pedigree match, absence of the owner or other occurrences. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) considers microchipping to be the optimum identification method currently available for protecting pet cats when it is linked to a comprehensive system involving voluntary enrollment, safe and private data keeping, advanced scanning device technology and reliable recovery services.”

Microchipping your pet is a very simple procedure, done at the vet’s office. They will take a small chip – about the size of a grain of rice – and insert it under the skin, using a needle. The chip contains a unique identifier, which you then register with the microchip company – if your pet is later found, the chip can be scanned, and the microchip company can reunite you with your pet.

This recent news story highlights just how important a microchip truly can be!

Meet the American Bobtail

Shorthair American Bobtail

Shorthair American Bobtail

The American Bobtail is a medium to large, naturally occurring, bobtailed cat. It is a noticeably athletic animal, well muscled, with the look and feel of power. It possesses a unique natural hunting gaze that combines with the breed’s body type and natural bobtail to give the American Bobtail a distinctive wild appearance. The breeds expression is one of intelligence and alertness.

In this breed no two tails are exactly the same. The average length of the tail is one to four inches, however this is an average, and some tails may be shorter or longer.

The American Bobtail possesses a strong, broad modified wedge-shaped head, with a distinctive brow above large almost almond shaped eyes giving it a natural hunting gaze. The expression is one of intelligence and alertness. Ear furnishings and Lynx ear tipping are highly desirable features in this breed. Its unique coat comes in a shorthair variety with medium semi-dense hair and in a longhair variety with semi-longhair that is shaggy. The coat is resilient and resistant to water. The topcoat is hard with a downy undercoat that insulates the cat from extreme weather.

Longhair American Bobtail

Longhair American Bobtail

This is a slow maturing breed taking two to three years to reach full adult type.

American Bobtails are a loving, kind and incredibly intelligent cat. They are noted for their dog like personalities and their devotion to their owners. They easily adapt to a busy or quiet environment. American Bobtails bond with their family. They get along well with most dogs and have a welcome spot in their hearts for newcomers, whether they are two- or four-legged.


Vacation Time

It’s summer, school is out, and a lot of us are planning vacations.   But what about our furry family members??   What are the options for them??June15

  1. Hire a pet sitter, and leave your cat at home.  Many cats are far more comfortable staying in the environment they know at home, rather than going to a boarding facility.  Having a pet sitter come to the house once or twice a day, to feed and water, clean litter boxes, and possibly play or cuddle can be a perfect option.  Look for pet sitters on these sites:
    1. National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
    2. Pet Sitters International
  2. If driving somewhere by car, you may consider taking your cat with you. Plan for a large carrier for the car, where you can provide them with a small litter box, and look for hotels along your route that are pet friendly.  The chains below can be found across the US, are pet friendly, and have discounts with CFA:
    1. La Quinta (Code CATFAN9)
    2. Motel 6 (Code 542766)
    3. Red Roof (VP# 526223)
  3. If you’re flying, you can bring your cat in cabin with you. Check with your individual airline for their rules and fees – most have a limited number they allow in cabin, and you will need to make a reservation, and may need to visit your vet just before the trip for a health certificate.  This article contains some great tip for getting your cat adjusted to flying.

Meet the Abyssinian

RuddyAbyAlthough the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. In appearance, Abyssinians resemble the paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, which portray an elegant feline with a muscular body, beautiful arched neck, large ears and almond shaped eyes. Abys today still retain the jungle look of felis lybica, the African wildcat ancestor of all domestic cats.

The breed is permitted four coat colors by CFA: Ruddy, Red, Blue and Fawn. The shape of the head forms a modified wedge with eyes curved like almonds. The Abyssinian has large, slightly pointed ears. The head, eyes and ears all fit together in a complimentary fashion favoring neither extreme length nor extreme shortness.

RedAbyThe personality of the Abyssinian is best described by one word: busy. These are incredibly intelligent cats, good problem solvers with an insatiable curiosity. Add to this their natural athleticism, which comes with their muscular bodies , and you have a potent combination. Abyssinians want to do everything on their own terms. Unless you understand their unique personality these fascinating cats can be a great challenge when living with one as a pet. They are incredibly playful even into adulthood. Everything they do seems larger than life. When they play, they seem to have no concern for life or limb and commit all of their energy and concentration.

BlueAbyFor the most part, these are low maintenance cats although they do enjoy being rubbed affectionately and require a bath at least once during the shedding season. Washing them with a good cat shampoo, quick towelling, and drip-drying is all that is needed. Bathing should be started when they are young and so should clipping their claws regularly and before each bath.

FawnAbyFor those who want a portion of the wild kingdom, who want an active, independent, loving cat, this very ancient breed may be just right. These mischievous, highly animated shorthaired cats, with their iridescent, colorful coats, can provide years of pleasure for any household. It is not a mystery to see why those who have had an Aby, usually have no other breed as a pet. It has become one of the most popular cat breeds of modern time.


Tips For Keeping your Cat Safe During a Disaster

Whether you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes or floods, you can’t wait until Mother Nature comes knocking at your door…   The time to be prepared is now, and advance planning could save your pets’ life and make yours easier.

  • June1Take several pictures of all the animals in your household and keep these pictures with your important insurance papers (include vaccination records, too). Be sure to include in the pictures any distinguishing marks. These pictures can help reunite you with a lost pet. Store the pictures in a resealable plastic bag in case you have to post them during rainy months.
  • Have at least a minimum two week supply of pet food and water on hand at all times. Store the dry food in air tight/waterproof containers. If you use canned food, buy the flip top cans or have a can opener in your airtight disaster supply container. Keep some of your pet’s favorite treats on hand – they get stressed, too, and a treat provides them some comfort. Also keep a supply of cat litter, a clean litter scoop, and litter pan in your disaster kit.
  • Put a collar and tag (with address and phone number) on your pets. This will increase your chances of reuniting you with your pets if they escape.
  • If your dog rides in the car, always have a leash in the vehicle to be able to keep your dog safely controlled if you have to leave your car. A disaster may occur while you are away from home.
  • Always keep a back-up supply of your pets’ medications. A vet may not be open for some time following a disaster. Prepare to ice down medications that need to be refrigerated (ice is available from the Red Cross). Ask your vet is he/she has a disaster plan. Your pets may need medical attention after a disaster and you need to know where to take your animal. Keep a first aid kit in your disaster kit for your pet (check with your vet on what to include).
  • Have a cat carrier or evacsack to evacuate each cat in your household. If you have to confine the cat(s) for a long period of time, have a carrier large enough to hold a shoe box sized litter box, a water/food dish, and room for the cat to comfortably lie down. Ensure the carrier is not left in the sun, and, if it is warm, that the cat gets good ventilation. If you must take the cat out, do so in a confined space as the cat may try to run away.
  • Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood so that they will check on your animals during disaster in case you aren’t home. Agree to do the same for them. Exchange information on veterinarians and have a permission slip put in your file at the vets, authorizing your buddy to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet in case you can’t be reached. Talk with your pets’ “babysitter” about a disaster plan to be used to evacuate and care for your animals in your absence.
  • Comfort your pet during a disaster – they are frightened, too. Having you near to give them a hug will help. Do not force this – let them come to you when they are ready.
  • Continue to feed your pets the food they are used to and put it out as close to the normal time as possible. If you feed canned food, reduce the normal amount by half (supplement with dry food) to reduce the possibility of diarrhea. Be sure to provide your pets with fresh water at all times.
  • Know where the animal shelters are in your area. You may need to visit them after a disaster to look for a missing pet. Also call the National Lost Pet Hotline, 1-900-535-1515 (this is a charge call) to report a lost pet. Call the National Found Pet Hotline, 1-800-755-8111 to report a found animal.
  • Check with local news media for facilities offering disaster animal rescue and relief. Also, you may call (800) 979-0241 and leave your phone number for assistance.
  • Microchip Your Pet!



Training Your Kitten to Enjoy her Carrier

Cat in Soft CarrierMost cats learn to hate carriers because they associate the carrier with a bad experience – it comes out once a year or so, and means a trip to the vet’s office!

But a carrier is an important part of life for our feline friends, so here are some tips for helping your cat learn to like the carrier:


  1. Start by just leaving your carrier out in the house, so your cat can get used to it. Open it up, and block the door, so that your cat can investigate if they want to.
  2. Cat in Hard CarrierMake the carrier attractive to your cat – add some comfy bedding, and then a favorite toy or some catnip.
  3. Once your cat is feeling comfortable with the carrier, try closing the door for a few minutes while she is inside – leave the room, and come back and give her a treat when you open it back up.
  4. Once she is feeling comfortable with that process, try walking around the house for a few minutes once you have closed the door. Then, set it down, and give her a treat again when you open it back up.
  5. When that part is going well, try taking for her a short drive – even just around the block – and reward her again with a treat once you’re back inside. Your cat will learn that the carrier and the car don’t always mean a trip to the scary vet.


Things to Consider Before Bringing a Kitten Home

Sunday, March 20 was the first official day of Spring 2016 and a perfect time to bring a new kitten home.  Here are five things to consider when you are considering a kitten for your forever home.


  1. Make sure that your kitten is at least three months of age. By then, mom has socialized and weaned the kitten so that it can survive.
  2. A healthy kitten has a muscular body, firm to the touch, clear eyes and will move with confidence and strength.
  3. Whether buying from a breeder or whether you get your cat from your local rescue, be sure to find out all you can about the kitten. For a pedigreed cat, talk with your breeder so that you can understand the temperament and pedigree behind the kitten.  For a rescue kitten, be sure to get as much information about the conditions which the kitten was found.
  4. Choose your vet in advance and talk to her about how to keep your kitten happy and healthy. Your vet is the best expert to guide you about proper nutrition and care.
  5. Have fun bonding with your new kitten that will build over time and so that you can become pals for years to come.

Training Your Kitten to Enjoy the Grooming Routine

3-7 cat with brushRegular brushing and combing are important to make sure that your cat has less hair balls and will leave less hair around the house. For long-haired cats, daily grooming is essential.

The best conditions for training your kitten to get used to the grooming sessions is to gently comb or brush him when he is relaxed or sleepy. Using a gentle approach, don’t insist that grooming take place when the cat is nervous or wanting to play.

Grooming is done the right way of the fur, with the exception of the neck area. Position the comb in a slanted position, and make sure that the teeth are not too sharp. You may take several tries to find your cat’s favorite grooming place. There are plenty of combs on the market, find one that is recommended for your cat’s fur length and texture.

3-7 Robert Groppi1Also, during the grooming process, be sure not to overstimulate your cat so that he becomes rambunctious and aggressive. You want to associate the grooming routine for your cat is time for the two of you to bond and relax.

For some cats, daily grooming may take place several times per day or on a regular basis. Take notice of any “sensitive” areas on your cat and try to avoid those areas. One of my cats does not like having his stomach combed more than a few times.

Grooming is not only essential, but can be an enjoyable activity that you and your cat can share for his entire life.

Five Reasons Why I Love My Cat

It’s Valentine’s Day this coming week and a time to show our love and appreciation for the ones we share our lives with and that must include our cats! I am sure like me, you are grateful for the chance to share your life with four crazy cats. They always make us feel better if I am sad and give me something to laugh about each day.

Photo: Krysia Reed

The five best things about having a cat are:
1. When you wake up they are happy to see you. Even if they are standing above you on your pillow waiting to eat.
2. They want to be near you when you are working at your computer. I won’t even discuss the amount of hair in my computer!
3. They make me laugh when they are in their crazy moods, racing through the house and playing, just because.
4. They remind me to be curious about everything and that curiosity is good for anyone at any age.
5. They give me peace. Peace of mind and soul.

Carol Real
Photo: Carol Real

As pet parents, what more can we ask for? Hug Your Cat this Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to show them your love and appreciation.