For "Mammal Monday":
How To Teach a Kitten to Play Gently
Cutest Baby Deer Ever
"A baby pudu was born at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Pudus are the smallest deer species in existence and are native to tropical forests of South America. Our friends at the zoo were kind of enough to post a video of the little guy to YouTube, which is sure to elicit a great big “AWWWWWWWWW!” from anyone who watches it."
More at: http://blog.nwf.org/wildlifepromise/2011/02/cutest-baby-deer-ever/ and other cute babies.
Reasons Cats Throw Up, Which is NOT Normal, and Ways to Treat a Vomiting Cat, and How to Feed Cats.
Are Hairballs an Unpleasant Fact of Life for Your Feline?
"There are a number of ways to temporarily remedy a hairball problem -- some more advisable than others -- but if a cat is suffering with frequent hairballs it's important to rule out serious underlying conditions as a possible cause for the digestive disturbance.
This is especially true if the hairballs are a new problem in a mature cat. Sudden GI issues in a middle-aged or senior kitty should always be thoroughly investigated.
Not only can the problem cause a nasty mess on floors and furniture, it often seems the effort required to regurgitate those gooey masses is very uncomfortable for the poor kitty.
How Do Hairballs Develop?
Hairballs have an obvious cause: kitties swallow a considerable amount of their own hair when they groom themselves. Some cats groom themselves and all the other cats in their household, making the amount of hair they consume enormous.
The rough surface of your cat's tongue is a perfect tool for pulling dead and excess fur from her coat during grooming. Some of that hair gets ingested. Hairballs aren't round; they are typically cylindrical masses of hair, debris from the cat's coat, and undigested bits of food.
Cat owners unfamiliar with hairballs might think their kitty has missed the litter box and pooped elsewhere in the house. As a general rule, a mess resembling poop found in a location away from the litter box is more than likely a hairball. The odor is also a tipoff, as hairballs don't smell like the other stuff.
A cat's digestive system is designed to handle a certain amount of fur, her own and from prey in the wild. But lots of kitties wind up with hairballs due to hair length, shedding patterns, dietary deficiencies, digestive challenges -- or a combination of issues.
Assuming your cat's hairball situation didn't come on suddenly and there are no other signs of illness, I would recommend the following approach to start:
- Make necessary adjustments to his diet to ensure adequate moisture content
- Add an omega-3 supplement
- Brush your cat daily or at least several times a week
What's for Dinner?
If you're feeding your cat dry pet food, she's not getting anywhere near the moisture content her organs need to function well for a lifetime. Dry kibble is not biologically appropriate nutrition for felines, as it lacks two ingredients essential to your kitty's health: moisture and high quality protein.
Your kitty's digestive system is working harder than nature intended to process all that dry stuff, and don't expect her to drink extra water to compensate. Cats get most of the water their bodies need from food. A healthy dog drinks loads of water throughout the day. A healthy cat does not.
If your kitty's diet is low in moisture content, she's living in a state of chronic dehydration. Her GI tract, already moisture-depleted, is less able to transport a mass of swallowed fur and debris than the GI tract of a well-hydrated cat eating a species-appropriate diet.
If your cat has a hairball problem and is eating primarily kibble, the first thing I recommend you do is start transitioning to a biologically appropriate diet.
Healthy Fats = Healthy Cats
The most common nutritional deficiency I see in my practice is lack of essential fatty acids, and omega-3's in particular.
Cats (and dogs) have a nutritional requirement for healthy fats that must be supplied by the food they eat, because their bodies don't produce it – thus the essential nature of these healthy fats.
If your kitty has been eating a diet of commercial pet food, chances are he's been getting more omega-6 fats than he needs, and not enough omega-3's.
A good balance of fatty acids in your cat's diet can make a tremendous positive difference in his health, including:
- Improving immune system response and blood clotting activity
- Reducing inflammatory responses associated with arthritis and bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Decreasing triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels
Research is underway to determine how omega-3 fatty acids impact the development of certain types of pet cancer, as well as their potential to prevent or alleviate autoimmune disorders.
Omega-3 deficiencies in pets have been associated with stunted growth, eye problems, insufficient muscle development and immune system dysfunction.
Sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in your cat's diet can help to improve not only the condition of his skin and fur, but also the ability of his digestive system to manage the hair and debris he swallows while grooming himself.
For a cat up to 14 pounds and in overall good health, I recommend supplementing with 125 mg daily of krill oil. Krill oil is the optimum source of omega-3's for people and pets.
Kitty Hair Care
Just a few minutes a day spent brushing or combing your cat to remove dead, loose hair from her coat will mean fewer hairs swallowed, and fewer hairballs for both of you to deal with. This is especially true if your kitty has long hair, and during shedding season when the weather begins to warm up.
As for what tool you should use to groom your cat -- there are as many opinions as there are varieties of pet brushes and combs on the market.
More Hairball Help
If your cat's hairball problem doesn't resolve or at least dramatically improve with the changes outlined above, you can try one or more of the following remedies:
- Psyllium seed husk powder. Also known simply as psyllium, this powder is made from portions of the seed of the plant Plantago ovate, a native Indian plant. This fiber source is water soluble and becomes mucilaginous when wet, helping to push built up hair along the GI tract. Add the contents of a capsule to a tablespoon of water, then mix in with your cat's food daily.
- Pumpkin. Add a teaspoon of canned or freshly cooked mashed pumpkin to your kitty's food each day. Canned pumpkin (make sure it is 100 percent pumpkin) is a non-grain fiber source that can aid digestion.
- Add a good quality animal-sourced digestive enzyme to your kitty's diet.
- Put a dab of non-petroleum jelly on your fingertip or the tip of your cat's nose. Look for a brand with all natural ingredients, typically slippery elm, marshmallow or papaya. Kitty will lick the jelly, swallow it, and with any luck it will coat the hairball, allowing it to be expelled more easily.
I recommend you avoid grain-based fiber sources, as cats have no biological requirement for grain and the ideal situation for most cats is to eat only what is appropriate for the species.
Never use petroleum jelly or mineral oil for hairballs. It is in many hairball remedies.
I also don't recommend petroleum-based jellies marketed as hairball treatments. These products are widely used and can help with hairballs, but petroleum is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbons, not a nutrient. Too much of it can interfere with the absorption of vitamin A.
Mineral oil is another bad idea -- it can cause pneumonia if inhaled." Complete article at: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/08/03/are-hairballs-an-unpleasant-fact-of-life-for-your-feline.aspx
'Feline Idiopathic Chronic Cystitis' is a big, long name for a very common condition in cats.
"No matter what name it goes by, there are common symptoms seen in all cats with feline idiopathic chronic cystitis, including:
There is straining while urinating. Most cats will be in and out of the litter box frequently in an effort to relieve themselves. They may void some urine with each visit to the box, but they don't feel they can completely empty their bladder in one trip.
The urinary tract is inflamed and irritated, so you might see blood in the urine. It can be either microscopic (meaning you won't see it but it's there, present on a urinalysis), or it can be macroscopic and you'll actually see blood in the litter box.
Cats with the condition are usually in pain, so your cat may cry while trying to urinate. This can be a really aggravating and intensely painful situation for your kitty.
Keep in mind all these symptoms are also typical of a urinary tract infection as well as crystals or bladder stones. It's important to realize if your cat is exhibiting symptoms of feline idiopathic chronic cystitis that you need to determine (with the help of your veterinarian) whether he has an infection or inflammation.
If he has an infection, the treatment will be entirely different from the treatment for bladder inflammation.
Traditional Condition Management
Traditional veterinary medicine does a good job in many regards in managing feline idiopathic chronic cystitis.
The first goal is to increase the cat's water intake. Many kitties don't like to drink still water from a bowl, so some people leave a sink faucet dripping water to entice their cat to drink.
A better idea, in my opinion is a kitty water fountain or bubbler. Cats are attracted to moving or flowing water, so the re-circulating water in a fountain should encourage more drinking. You can spend as little as $12 for one of these fountains all the way up to $100 for a deluxe version.
Another important goal of traditional veterinary medicine in managing feline bladder inflammation is to switch cats eating dry food to canned food, which has a much higher moisture content. Canned cat food contains between 70 and 80 percent water, while dry foods can have as little as 10 percent moisture content.
Feeding your cat only dry, dehydrated food can make her chronically dehydrated as well. Not only does a state of dehydration stress the kidneys, it produces a concentrated, potentially irritating mineral concentration in the bladder.
Very often eliminating all grains and seafood from your cat's diet will help." More at: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/04/19/idiopathic-chronic-cystitis-in-pet-cats.aspx
On This Day:
Battle of the Bulge begins, Dec 16, 1944:
"With the Anglo-Americans closing in on Germany from the west and the Soviets approaching from the east, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a massive attack against the western Allies by three German armies.
The German counterattack out of the densely wooded Ardennes region of Belgium took the Allies entirely by surprise, and the experienced German troops wrought havoc on the American line, creating a triangular "bulge" 60 miles deep and 50 miles wide along the Allied front. Conditions of fog and mist prevented the unleashing of Allied air superiority, and for several days Hitler's desperate gamble seemed to be paying off. However, unlike the French in 1940, the embattled Americans kept up a fierce resistance even after their lines of communication had been broken, buying time for a three-point counteroffensive led by British General Bernard Montgomery and American generals Omar Bradley and George Patton.
Fighting was particularly fierce at the town of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne Division and part of the 10th Armored Division were encircled by German forces within the bulge. On December 22, the German commander besieging the town demanded that the Americans surrender or face annihilation. U.S. Major General Anthony McAuliffe prepared a typed reply that read simply:
"To the German Commander:
From the American Commander"
The Americans who delivered the message explained to the perplexed Germans that the one-word reply was translatable as "Go to hell!" Heavy fighting continued at Bastogne, but the 101st held on.
On December 23, the skies finally cleared over the battle areas, and the Allied air forces inflicted heavy damage on German tanks and transport, which were jammed solidly along the main roads. On December 26, Bastogne was relieved by elements of General Patton's 3rd Army. A major Allied counteroffensive began at the end of December, and by January 21 the Germans had been pushed back to their original line.
Germany's last major offensive of the war had cost them 120,000 men, 1,600 planes, and 700 tanks. The Allies suffered some 80,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action, with all but 5,000 of these casualties being American. It was the heaviest single battle toll in U.S. history."
Clinton orders air attack on Iraq, Dec 16, 1998:
"On this day in 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors. Clinton's decision did not have the support of key members of Congress, who accused Clinton of using the air strikes to direct attention away from ongoing impeachment proceedings against him. Just the day before, the House of Representatives had issued a report accusing Clinton of committing "high crimes and misdemeanors" related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, in which Clinton had--and then lied about--an illicit sexual liaison with an intern in the Oval Office.
At the time of the air strikes, Iraq was continuing its attempts to build weapons of mass destruction including nuclear, chemical and biological agents. Fearful of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's belligerence, and his penchant for using those weapons against his own people, the U.N. sent in weapons inspectors in 1997. After repeatedly refusing the inspectors access to certain sites, Clinton resorted to air strikes to compel Hussein to cooperate.
Many in Congress agreed with Republican majority leader Trent Lott that the timing of the air strikes was "suspect" and "cursory." In their opinion, the air strikes were simply a ploy to direct the public's attention away from the impeachment proceedings, and would ultimately prove futile in persuading Hussein to comply with the U.N.'s demands. Lott and his cohorts considered sustained bombardment of Iraq and the direct overthrow of Hussein the only way to end Iraq's weapons program. Clinton, in a televised public address that day brushed aside the criticism, saying that the Iraqi president was wrong if he thought "...the serious debate [on impeachment] would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down." He emphasized that his decision to launch air strikes was critical to America's vital interests and to the security of the world.
Ultimately, the American public's attention, and that of the press, stayed fixated on Clinton and his battle to save his presidency. Both the air strikes and the impeachment threat proved anti-climactic. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999 and the air strikes on Iraq failed to intimidate Hussein into allowing weapons inspectors full access to Iraq's weapons facilities."
Jay called to say that he would drive up here on his ATV. But when he hadn't shown up by 10.00am, I started doing other things, like trying to find a suitable Heat/Air solution for these two houses.
I was in touch with several contractors about mini-split systems which seem like a very good solution. http://www.energystar.gov/certified-products/detail/ductless_heating_cooling. Even better and more economical to operate than regular central heat/air, which I don't want anyway. All that dirty, energy-wasting, space-consuming ductwork in my attics doesn't appeal to me at all.
Just as I was on a live chat with Home Depot mini-split contractor, Jay shows up on his ATV with a teen neighbor of his. Jay said that he had brought the teen up here to rake my yard. I didn't ask for that to be done. Jay knows that I don't want other people around here, especially as Jay had opened the big garage door, and I have too many tools in there.
Jay wanted the teen to use my tools to get to his ATV battery, and put my distilled water in it. Then he wanted to use my tire inflator. He was ordering the teen around in such a nasty way that I knew that Jay had been into something, and I wanted him out of here. I had to stop what I was doing and watch them like a hawk. Then I counted all the sockets in the set before I put it away, and pulled the workshop door down again. They still didn't leave right away, as Jay plugged his battery charger into my house so that the ATV would start.
So I had to start the live chat all over again, and then caught up on other jobs, like laundry, made a list of the free stuff that I need from my health insurance catalog, ordered krill oil for the animals, a long Ethernet cable and a padded toilet seat. Time went all too quickly, so much for yesterday.