Monday, February 18, 2013

Lonely Cat. Covered Litter Boxes. Cat Bites. Training Cats and Dogs. Uncommon Facts About Dogs. A Dog's Purpose. Rodent Bait Kills. Feral Cats. President's Day. Pluto. Richard Petty.


For “Mammal Monday”:

Lonely Cat.

imagesCA3R7D7S “Moving the cat tree or kitty condo near a window or glass door will give him an “outside” interest. And the view doesn’t have to be that of animal or bird activity; cats enjoy watching people and cars, too. There are also lots of battery-operated toys that can be pre-programmed to engage your cat at regular intervals throughout the day. Some cats even learn how to switch on these games themselves!

If your cat is home alone, there are also special cat videos that can be set to play on a loop throughout the day. Also, create a treasure hunt for him by hiding treats around the home in his favorite places so that he can “hunt” them out.”


Covered Litter Boxes – Your Cat’s Point of View

“Like his ancestor, the African Wildcat, your cat has survival instincts to help keep him safe from predators and competitor cats. As appealing as a covered litter box seems to you, using one goes against your cat’s natural survival instincts. Removing the lids from your cat’s litter boxes will help nurture feelings of safety, ultimately curbing his urge to eliminate where he is less likely to be trapped.

Not only will uncovered boxes provide your cat with a good escape route and an improved sense of safety when using the box, they will also prevent the smelly Porta-Potty effect, as the inherent lack of air flow in covered boxes keeps urine and stool moist and extra stinky. With a cat’s keen sense of smell, this can prove unbearable.  A box that is covered can cause some cats to not visit the box to urinate as often as they should (generally 3 – 4 times a day). It’s not healthy for your cat to hold his urine. Sooner or later, the velvet sofa will become a great alternate litter box site to your cat.

When possible, be sure to locate the uncovered litter boxes in open and easily accessible areas where your cat has a good vantage point of the environment and several escape routes. Safety outweighs the need for privacy in most cats, but there are cats who prefer a more private or even hidden location to eliminate. Instead of having covered boxes, locate uncovered litter boxes in private areas. If you must have covered litter boxes in specific areas of your home, make sure you give your cat choices by also providing uncovered boxes in other areas.

When it comes to cats and their environment, looking at the world through their eyes and understanding what falls in line with their natural instincts will help ensure a happy and healthy cat. As always, if your cat is urinating in locations other than the litter box, schedule an appointment with your cat’s vet to rule out health issues.” From:


Cat Bites


Q: “Sometimes my cat approaches me and bites me for what seems like no reason. After I start giving her attention, she acts like nothing happened and lets me pet her. Why would she bite me out of nowhere like this?”

A: “Your cat has a very good reason for these little love bites: She is asking for your attention. Cats nip each other when grooming, playing and sharing affection. So, she is inviting you to pet her — and she wouldn't even mind if you nipped her back!” 

From Me: My neighbor tried nipping Miss Priss back when she bit him, but it didn’t do any good…he didn’t have his teeth in!!


Cat Training

decoded2[1] Q: “What misconceptions do people have about cat training?”

A: “Many people think that cats cannot be trained, that they are independent creatures with minds of their own and no need for human companionship.  Thus, they do not try to train their cats at all. The reality is that while cats do indeed have minds of their own, those minds can be very receptive to human interactions and cues. Cats can learn to play ball, sit, stay, come and almost all of the behaviors that we normally associate with dogs. Talking, touching and positive reinforcement are powerful motivators for cats.”


Training Cats and Dogs

decoded1[1] Q: “How is training a cat different from training a dog?”

A: “Cats have different behaviors than dogs that must be dealt with. For example, we try to teach our cats not to scratch the furniture, while we try to teach our dogs not to chew the furniture.

Some things are infinitely easier with a cat.  Show a cat the litter box once, and potty training is usually a done deal. With a puppy, potty training generally takes weeks. But in general, training a cat must be done repeatedly, patiently and at the cat's own pace. A dog is much more adaptable to the human's schedule and to intensive training.

In the case of both cats and dogs, I recommend positive reinforcement as the motivator. Punishment can have a serious traumatic effect on a cat, while dogs can accept some punishment, as they are pack animals and used to a complex social structure. But repetition and positive reinforcement are the two things that are going to earn you the behavior, as well as the respectful, affectionate relationship with your animal that you want.”


A Dozen Uncommon Facts About Dogs

“Uncommon Fact #1: Dogs have dozens of
facial expressions.

  1. Believe it or not, your animated pooch has about 100 different facial expressions, most involving the ears.


Uncommon Fact #2: Dogs can also make
lots of sounds.

In addition to all those facial expressions, your communicative canine can make about 10 different sounds.

Uncommon Fact #3: Humans have organs
dogs are missing.

It's true... Mother Nature for some reason decided dogs don't need an appendix.


Uncommon Fact #4: This dog's appearance changes dramatically as he grows.

Did you know Dalmatians are born all white and only develop spots as they get older?

Uncommon Fact #5: This breed runs almost
twice as fast as other dogs.

  1. Most domestic dogs can run at about 19 mph, but Greyhounds, the fastest dogs on earth, can run at speeds up to 45 mph


Uncommon Fact #6: Your dog has a lousy
short-term memory.

A dog's memory is only five minutes long. A cat's is up to 16 hours.

Uncommon Fact #7: Newborn pups give new
meaning to the term "helpless."

A newborn puppy can't see or hear, has no teeth, and won't be able to control his bladder until he's about four months old.


Uncommon Fact #8: A dog's adult teeth are built to last.

Believe it or not, the roots of your dog's teeth are longer than the teeth themselves

Uncommon Fact #9: The longest living dog
almost made it to 30.

  1. Per the Guinness World Book of Records, the longest living dog (verified) was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived to be 29.


Uncommon Fact #10:

Your dog's body is exquisitely sensitive to touch.  Touch is the first sense your dog develops — her entire body, including the paws, contains nerve endings sensitive to touch.

Uncommon Fact #11: Dogs are as smart
as toddlers.

Dogs have the intelligence of one to three year-old children — they can understand up to 200 words and hand signals with the same meaning as words.


Uncommon Fact #12: Your dog's sense of smell is unparalleled.

A dog's sense of smell is over 100,000 times more acute than a human's.”



A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old).

“Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
imagesCAHH9ZV9 The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.  He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The Six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'”


This Rodent Bait Can Threaten Your Life as Well as Your Pet’s

Rodent Bait

“Recently, a dog in Colorado who ingested what is believed to be rat bait containing the chemical zinc phosphide, sent an emergency room DVM and three staff members to the hospital.

The dog vomited inside the Vail Valley Animal Hospital, and toxic gas emanating from the vomit caused breathing problems for the veterinarian and technicians.

The dog is suspected of ingesting a bait containing zinc phosphide, which when mixed with liquid (in this case, stomach contents), creates toxic phosphine gas.

Sadly, the dog didn’t survive. Fortunately, this type of incident is not commonly seen at veterinary clinics.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a product containing zinc phosphide, in addition to calling your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital, there are guidelines you should follow in handling your pet.”  More at:


Feral cats to be trapped at federal wildlife refuges in Florida Keys

imagesCAXU0U1A“Efforts to protect native animals in Florida Keys wildlife refuges will trap feral cats and other unwanted "pests," say federal managers.
The "Final Integrated Pest Management Plan" for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges, released this week, says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff "will begin actively controlling and removing certain exotic animals from public lands within these refuges."
That includes national wildlife lands at Crocodile Lake on North Key Largo, National Key Deer Refuge based on Big Pine Key, and the Great White Heron and Key West refuges in the Lower Keys.

imagesCA0VKTF2 A number of conservation groups including the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and the American Bird Conservancy support the plan, saying birds and local endangered species have few defenses against predatory cats that do not belong in Keys wild areas.
"In terms of influencing the Lower Keys marsh rabbit or Key Largo woodrats chance of persisting, the significance of cat predation exceeds other threats," says the management plan. "Cats impact a remarkable proportion of species in affected communities." More at:


What's the Point of President's Day?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Time to take a lesson from the greatest leader... Jesus Christ.


Transcript at:


On This Day:

Pluto discovered, Feb 18, 1930:

“Pluto, once believed to be the ninth planet, is discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, by astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh.

images[9] The existence of an unknown ninth planet was first proposed by Percival Lowell, who theorized that wobbles in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune were caused by the gravitational pull of an unknown planetary body. Lowell calculated the approximate location of the hypothesized ninth planet and searched for more than a decade without success. However, in 1929, using the calculations of Powell and W.H. Pickering as a guide, the search for Pluto was resumed at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. On February 18, 1930, Tombaugh discovered the tiny, distant planet by use of a new astronomic technique of photographic plates combined with a blink microscope. His finding was confirmed by several other astronomers, and on March 13, 1930--the anniversary of Lowell's birth and of William Hershel's discovery of Uranus--the discovery of Pluto was publicly announced.

images[11] With a surface temperature estimated at approximately -360 Fahrenheit, Pluto was appropriately given the Roman name for the god of the underworld in Greek mythology. Pluto's average distance from the sun is nearly four billion miles, and it takes approximately 248 years to complete one orbit. It also has the most elliptical and tilted orbit of any planet, and at its closest point to the sun it passes inside the orbit of Neptune, the eighth planet.

After its discovery, some astronomers questioned whether Pluto had sufficient mass to affect the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. In 1978, James Christy and Robert Harrington discovered Pluto's only known moon, Charon, which was determined to have a diameter of 737 miles to Pluto's 1,428 miles. Together, it was thought that Pluto and Charon formed a double-planet system, which was of ample enough mass to cause wobbles in Uranus' and Neptune's orbits. In August 2006, however, the International Astronomical Union announced that Pluto would no longer be considered a planet, due to new rules that said planets must "clear the neighborhood around its orbit." Since Pluto's oblong orbit overlaps that of Neptune, it was disqualified.”


Richard Petty wins Daytona 500 after last-lap crash, Feb 18, 1979:

imagesCAXHI6JT “Richard Petty comes from behind to win the 21st annual Daytona 500, after leaders Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough crash into a wall during the final lap of the race. Allison and Yarborough then began fighting on the infield, an altercation broadcast on live television. The race helped popularize NASCAR racing at a national level.

Richard Petty on his way to winning his first Daytona 500 in 1964...Richard Lee Petty was the son of legendary NASCAR driver Lee Petty, who won the first Daytona 500 in 1959. That same year, Richard Petty was named NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year. He won his first Daytona 500, considered the “Super Bowl of NASCAR,” in 1964.

imagesCAKD5B60 On February 18, 1979, Petty was vying for his sixth Daytona 500 victory. His come-from-behind win--which came after a crash took out Allison and Yarborough, who were in first and second place respectively--ended a frustrating 45-race personal losing streak.

The race also proved to be a milestone for NASCAR: For the first time ever, it was being televised live, flag-to-flag, and it received huge ratings, helped in part by the fact that the East Coast was experiencing a snowstorm that day and people were home watching TV. The race also marked a significant turning point in NASCAR’s transformation from a regional sport popular primarily in the South, to a national sport with a broad audience.

Later that same year, Petty won his seventh and final Winston Cup championship. He won his seventh and final Daytona 500 in 1981.  Petty, nicknamed “The King” and considered by many to be the greatest driver in NASCAR history, retired from racing after the 1992 season with a total of 200 wins. Petty’s son Kyle and his grandson Adam also became NASCAR drivers. Adam Petty died at age 19 in an accident on May 12, 2000, at the New Hampshire International Speedway.”



It was my morning to take care of the cats in the SPCA’s Cat Habitat at Petco in Conroe.

SPCA-Cat- Habitat










Arlo Arlo was there, and he was just as pleased to see me, as I was to see him.  There are just two left, Arlo and Art, of that litter of five that were found in a taped up box outside Petco.  The habitat is working, we are getting our cats adopted.

I grabbed one of those Petco carts that is like the ones at the garden centers, and used it as a work table.  The supply cart/work table hasn’t arrived yet.  Ray had warned me, don’t give the cats their canned food first, it gets them all stirred up.  Once I had grabbed what I needed out of the storage areas, it was easy, and didn’t take long.  The AM shift just has to feed, wash dishes, and scoop boxes.  The PM shift has a lot more to do.

As I was in Conroe, I thought I might as well do some shopping, so I went in the back door of Walmart, as the front parking lot was jammed.  I rarely go to Walmart, but I was so close and needed some things that I could buy in their Health and Beauty Dept.  Even though I had to wait for customers who wanted keys cut, it was still quicker at the back door.

When I got home, I took Misty for her walk, and took care of Miss Priss and Satchmo.  They haven’t met yet, they are at opposite ends of the house. It is against foster rules to let an SPCA foster to mingle with a cat that hasn’t been checked out by a vet.  Satchmo must be feeling more at ease, as I noticed that he spends more time at the window than in his hidey-hole these days.

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