Monday, March 11, 2013

Nature Apps For Kids. Importance of Predation. 10 Cat Myths. Real Cost of Dry Pet Food! Do Dogs and Cats Need Grains? Tiger Cubs. Cats and Milk. Corps of Engineers.


For “Mammal Monday”:

The Best Apps for Kids who Love Animal Facts

NWF“Kids should have screen time that is ideally connected to increasing their creativity. As a wildlife conservationist, I would also love it if they learned something about wildlife.”

Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Nature and Wildlife Apps

I searched for “best kids nature apps” and most apps I found did not teach about wildlife or nature. Most had a cute animal as the main character teaching how to read, do math or make art. While those are great goals, I was looking specifically for apps that increased my kids’ knowledge of wildlife and nature.

These apps reward you for learning facts about animals or nature. They usually require the ability to read.  These apps are listed in alphabetical order.

Click the BirdieCreatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence  Meet the Insects: Forest Edition  Nature Tap  Ranger Rick’s Appventures  Ranger Rick’s Treehouse  Survival  Tick Bait’s Universe  Weird But True

Of course nothing connects children with nature and wildlife more than time outside, so be sure to balance your screen time and green time today.

Ranger Rick cover image

Also, I want to put in a plug for National Wildlife Federation’s award-winning kids’ magazines, because my kids love them. When you subscribe to our magazines, it helps National Wildlife Federation continue our work of engaging children to care about nature! Subscribe to Ranger Rick and Ranger Rick Jr. magazines today!”        More at:     From:  Wildlife Promise


State must overhaul approach to predators

Copyrighted by:

“More than 70 years ago, legendary National Park Service biologist Adolph Murie published research showing predators actually strengthen deer and elk herds by culling out the sick and weak. Numerous peer-reviewed studies followed, also affirming the importance of predation to maintain the delicate balance of our ecosystems. Unfortunately, federal and state policies have yet to true up with these findings, and our laws and regulations continue to allow for the liberal killing of important species like bears, coyotes, foxes and bobcats.”    More at:

From me:  In other words: Don’t Mess With Mother Nature!!


Don’t Believe It! Exposing 10 Common Myths about Cats

cat on a couch“A lot of ancient "wisdom" about felines isn't so wise after all.   Some of it is just plain silly – and some is downright dangerous.

The following are ten urban legends about our kitty companions that deserve debunking:

Myth: Cats always land on their feet.

Fact: Cats don't have collarbones, their backbones are very flexible, and they are extremely graceful animals. This may have led to the old wives tale that they always land on their feet. However, the way your kitty is constructed is no guarantee he won't be harmed in a fall.

Myth: You should give your cat cow's milk.

Fact: Adults of any species typically have trouble digesting the milk of another species – and that includes cats. Like humans, many cats are also lactose intolerant, and cow's milk offers no nutritional value to your kitty.

Myth: All cats hate water.

Fact: Many cats are intensely curious about the wet stuff and love moving water – a sink faucet, a water fountain for drinking, a running shower, even a flushing toilet.

Myth: Dry cat food (kibble) is best for cats because it helps clean their teeth.

Fact: Crunchy food isn't any better at brushing and flossing your kitty's teeth than it is yours. From a nutritional standpoint, dry food is the worst thing you can feed your cat – it is devoid of both the healthful, unadulterated protein and moisture cats need in order to stay healthy.

Myth: Cats that live indoors don't get sick or need to see the veterinarian regularly.

Fact: While it's true indoor living is much safer and healthier for domesticated kitties, they still need regular wellness visits to a holistic or integrative veterinarian. And no matter where your cat spends her time, if she's not eating a species-appropriate, nutritionally balanced diet, she's at risk for poor health. An annual physical examination and bloodwork to detect early organ dysfunction is priceless, in terms of being a proactive pet owner.

Myth: If you have a cat at home with an infant, the cat will be attracted to the scent of milk and can suck the air from the baby's mouth, suffocating it.

Fact: There is absolutely no evidence cats are attracted to an infant's breath, nor has there ever been a case where a cat has suffocated an infant in this manner. If you find your cat snoozing with your baby, it's because kitties like to snuggle up against warm bodies, especially in quiet, darkened rooms – which nurseries often are. Sometimes fat cats are bigger than tiny infants, hence the recommendation to keep the cat out of the nursery.

Myth: Declawing is just a permanent nail trim.

Fact: Declawing is the surgical amputation of the first joint of each of a cat's toes, and is increasingly viewed as inhumane and a form of mutilation.

Myth: Cats thrive on a vegetarian diet.

Fact: Cats are obligate carnivores, designed by nature to require animal protein. In fact, human-grade, unprocessed protein and moisture (water) should make up the bulk of your kitty's diet. Regardless of your own feelings about eating meat, please don't compromise your cat's health by feeding him a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Myth: Cats are cold and aloof. If you want a loving, loyal pet, get a dog.

Fact: Many cats are very loving. Cats are not dogs, so other than having four legs, a tail and fur like their canine counterparts, they are very different animals and comparisons don't make much sense. Dogs are by nature pack animals, while kitties are more independent. But cats that enjoy the same status in the family as dogs are often just as loving, attentive and present as their canine buddies.

Myth: Cats have nine lives.

Fact: Utter nonsense! Cats are smart, so it may appear they are "luckier" than dogs.”  From:


Functional, Fresh, Fast Food for our Furry Friends

Purchase Functional, Fresh, Fast Food for our Furry Friends“Dr. Karen Becker discusses the ins and outs of feeding an evolutionary diet to your dogs and cats.      Summary video:

Spun with her quick humor, Dr. Becker packs loads of information on raw feeding on her DVD.  Dr. Becker discusses in detail, the 4 types of nutrition, components of the Natural Fresh Food Diet, enemies of nutrition, the problems and consequences of feeding a biologically inappropriate diet along with therapeutic nutrition.”  Running Time: 4:00  $30.00   Add to Cart


Some excerpts of Natural Pet Productions: Free Articles & Downloads

The real cost of dry pet food!
“What are you really paying for? If you know more about what’s really in those well-marketed bags of dry food, we think you’ll be more likely to add fresh foods to your animal’s diet.
How much does it cost to produce pet foods?
Most premium dog and cat foods sell for $1 – 2.00 per pound. The example below gives a detailed breakdown of a “healthy” dry food that retails for $1.50 per pound.   The manufacturer has paid 29 cents per pound for ingredients.”     More at:

Do Dogs and Cats Need Grains?
“The natural, ancestral diet of dogs and cats included minimal amounts of grain, yet even the “healthiest” dry foods are half grain. Help your animals live longer- feed them diets more appropriate for their bodies! Learn about the differences between the natural diet of dogs and cats and the modern diet of dry foods.
Dogs and cats are designed by nature to be primarily meat eaters
Dogs are scavengers. Their diet included almost any food that provided calories – but rarely grain.  According to a recent study by biologists Ray and Lorna Coppinger, the natural diet of dogs included ”Bones, pieces of carcass, rotten greens and fruit, fish guts, discarded seeds and grains, animal guts and heads, some discarded human food and wastes”

Cats are more selective about food by nature and anatomy: Their ancestral diet consisted of small rodents. Their usefulness to humans had much to do with their eagerness to dispatch the rodents so plentiful around human habitats.
There is almost no grain in the natural diet of dogs and cats.”  More at:


Orphaned Siberian Tiger Cubs Are Readied for New Life in Wild

WCS tiger cubs

Three orphaned Siberian tiger cubs sitting on a snowy trail.  WCS

"Last fall, in the frigid, snowy forests of the Russian Far East, three wild tiger cubs lost their most important ally: their mother. Our story began on Nov. 29 with a phone call to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) office in Vladivostok.  He requested our assistance in capturing the four-month-old cubs, which had created a stir near a small village by attempting to make a meal out of a farmer’s dog.

The cubs most likely lost their mother to poachers.  Sadly, female tigers with cubs are more susceptible to poaching; rather than fleeing from humans, mother tigers will stand their ground to defend their cubs.  After their mother died, these three cubs likely remained where their mother left them until hunger drove them to abandon their vigil.”  More at:


The Most Common Reasons Cats Throw Up…

“Adults of any species typically have trouble digesting the milk of another species — and that includes cats. Like humans, many cats like milk, but are also lactose intolerant, and cow's milk offers little nutritional value to your kitty.

Treats and Milk as Potential Culprits

Another area to look at is kitty treats. What I see a lot of in my practice is cat parents who feed a very high quality food, but then give really trashy treats to their pets.

When you look at the label on your cat's treats and see they contain things like propylene glycol, FDC red #4, ethoxyquin, chemical dyes or emulsifiers, surfactants, and other stuff you can't pronounce, it's a sure sign you shouldn't be feeding it to your furry feline.

All those additives, preservatives and just plain junk can cause GI inflammation, which causes vomiting.

Last but not least is milk. Most mammals drink milk if it's offered, but it's important that it's milk from the same species. Gastrointestinal issues arise from drinking milk (‘nursing') from a different species.

Your kitty doesn't have the enzymes required to break down the milk sugar in cow's milk -- his pancreas doesn't secrete the lactase necessary to break down the lactose in cow's milk. The result? Secondary GI symptoms, including vomiting.”   More at:


On This Day:

Congress establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mar 11, 1779:

“On this day in 1779, Congress establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help plan, design and prepare environmental and structural facilities for the U.S. Army. Made up of civilian workers, members of the Continental Army and French officers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played an essential role in the critical Revolutionary War battles at Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Yorktown.

In subsequent years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evolved from providing services for the military to helping map out the uncharted territories that would become the western United States. Beginning in 1824, the Corps also took responsibility for navigation and flood control of the nation's river systems.

Today, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is made up of more than 35,000 civilian and enlisted men and women. In recent years, the Corps has worked on rebuilding projects in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the reconstruction of the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”



Just after I hit the ‘publish’ button yesterday morning at 7.00AM, the power went out.  It had been raining hard in the night and it was pitch black outside.  I groped for a flashlight in the desk drawer, and worked my way back into the bedroom where I keep those hands-free little lights that you clip on your clothes. Fortunately the coffee was already made, and the cat and dog had been fed as I had been up since 5.00AM.  I watched the sun rise from the porch, and as soon as it was light, I tried to busy myself with things to do that didn’t require electricity.  I cleaned patio door panes, TV screens, cat boxes, etc, then I ran out of things to do.  The power company called with their recorded message saying a tree was on a line and it should be fixed by 3.00PM.  I turned on my laptop and plugged my phone line into it, but I hadn’t used it for such a long time that it was just sat there updating everything. 

Just as I was putting new batteries in the radio, Ray came over and we opened all the doors in the workshop for light, and put the new water and drain hoses on the old yellow washing machine.  It used to be in Ray’s utility room, but when I took it to the repair shop Mark didn’t know if he could find the parts to fix it. So I had bought another one for Ray.  Mark did fix it, and I had kept it for a spare. As I had to take my white one over the scales last week, this yellow one should come in handy, even though I don’t like the color. 

The lights came back on at 11.00AM while we were installing the hoses, and so we wrestled it in place and tried it out.   It agitates so much faster than my old sick white one. But there was a water leak.  It wasn’t the hoses, so it must be that the water mixing valve froze and cracked while it was stored.  I did several loads of clothes, and then Ray came back over and we disconnected it.  I bought it used in 1994 after the flood drowned the other white one that I had, so I think I have had my money’s worth out of it.  I’ll take it back to the repair shop, and either get it fixed if Mark has another water mixing valve for it, or just buy another matching set when I go to town next Wednesday. 


Dizzy-Dick said...

You seem to have a lot of power outages and phone problems over your way. Are you with SHECO? I am and I like them.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

No, I used to be with SHECO, Sam Houston Electric Co-op, when I lived in Royal Forest and at my house at Lake Livingston. Here we are on Entergy's grid.

But trees on the lines affect every power company.

We don't have any trouble with Verizon land line phones. I don't remember when they had an outage.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.