National Hairball Awareness Day – The Furry Facts and a Little Help From the FURminator deShedding Tool

Hairballs in cats can be a sign of something dangerous. Regular grooming with the FURminator deShedding tool helps to eliminate hairballs

Peanut, Kizmet, Jazmine, Zoey, Mia, Peanut, and Zee go undercover to fight the battle against hairballs!

Cats and hairballs – they go paw in paw. More than likely you have stepped in at least one mushy projectile on your floor in your lifetime and it’s a subject that’s universally joked about because it’s something that pretty much any cat lover on this earth can relate to. But, the truth is, hairballs actually can be the sign of something much more serious in your cat and are no laughing matter. Having a good grooming plan in place to help your cat stay hairball-free is essential and that is why in our household we use the FURminator deShedding tool on a regular basis. Read more

Got Cat Weird? Open Submissions for Upcoming Zee/Zoey Publication!

Let's face it - cats get a reputation for being independent and aloof, but we know them for the funny, silly, crazy clowns they are!

If you’ve got a cat with a great story to tell, we’d love to hear from you!

Cat sleep on your head? Bring you gifts at night? Act like a dog? Steal your food? Cause you to LOL or scratch your head in puzzlement with whatever funny, strange, silly, or oddball behavior they are exhibiting at the moment? The weirder the better and I say bring it on! As a matter of fact, I’m reaching out to you, my dear Zee/Zoey readers, with an opportunity to be featured in my next book (title to be disclosed at a future date) to share the zany!

I know you’ve seen it firsthand – let’s face it, if you read this blog, you’re already an expert in cat weird. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to be featured in a book about cats?! It’s simple – all I need is a few sentences or a very brief paragraph (75 words or less) describing either the weirdest habit your cat has (or had – this can be an angel cat), OR the weirdest habit YOU have as a result of being a cat parent.

Let me give you a cat parent example – regardless of the fact I know I lock the front door when I leave the house for work, I will still shake on the handle several times to make sure. Then in an act of complete paranoia, after I walk a few steps away, I will walk back to the door to check it again to make sure it’s locked. I know, weird, huh?

How about a weird cat habit? Hmmm… my cat Mia likes to jump up on top of my head to settle in for a nap after I get out of the shower and wrap my head in a towel.

So, you tell me – what weird do you have to share? Strange stuff your cat eats, litter box etiquette, weird toys your cat likes to play with, outrageous stuff your cat has done to your boyfriend, or odd places your cat likes to nap. Or how about you – just what crazy lengths have you gone to for the love of your cat – the sky’s the limit when it comes to stuff we can share and I welcome thoughts across the board.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what I’m looking for, I’ll fill you in on the basics. I’m writing the book – the input I get from you is to compliment the story and is not the book itself – that’s why I only want very brief examples to pepper within the book. Whether I chose your piece or not, I’ll get back to you so you know one way or another.

I’m hoping for a fall/winter 2016 publication date, but I really won’t know for sure until I get closer to completing the project. If you’d like to participate, please send me your crazy to info@zzppublishing.com for consideration. Be sure to include your name and how you would want me to credit you in the book if chosen. For example, Your Name, Title/Occupation, City, and State. And if you have a picture to document the weirdness, even better! I can’t say it will be used, but you never know (high-resolution photos only 240dpi or 300dpi).

I’ll keep you in the loop as things progress – I’m super excited for this new project and I think you’ll love it too!! The deadline for submissions is Sunday, May 15, midnight EST, and submissions are open world-wide. If you are chosen, I will send a standard follow-up permissions form for you to sign and we can go from there!

Thanks everyone! I look forward to hearing from you and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Recycling Projects to Help Shelter Cats for Earth Day!

Living each day with the intention of respecting the earth will make it a better place.

Look at the world though the wonderment of a cat’s perspective. It’s an awe-inspiring beautiful place that we should be thankful for each and every day.

Our earth is a beautiful entity that sustains our very being – it’s a precious gift to live in such an incredible world and I feel the same about cats that grace this earth – they are a precious gift that bring joy, love, and companionship into our lives. So for Earth Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some ways that we can recycle stuff to make practical things for not just our own cats, but cats in shelters that could use our love and support.  Read more

Living in Comfort with Cats – 10 Tips to Managing Cat Allergies

By trying different tips and techniques, there are ways to manage cat allergies and peacefully co-exist with a cat.

From this picture, you’d never know I was once allergic to cats.

Being immersed in the world of cat blogging and advocacy, I’ve heard just about every excuse there is from those that don’t have a cat but might want one, as to why they can’t. Having a dog ranks right up there, but the most common reason is because of cat allergies. As a happy pet parent to seven cats, coupled with the fact millions of cats are living in shelters, in need of a good home, I’d like to let you in on a couple secrets so you can adopt that adorable ball of fluff you’ve always wanted (or keep the sniffles to a minimum with the cat you already have)!

First off, for most of my life, I’ve lived in a home with both cats and dogs. At one point I had 5 dogs and 4 cats living together, so I can assure you, unless the circumstances are extreme, cats and dogs are able to get along if you’re willing to put the time and effort into making it work. My other secret – I’m allergic to cats. Or, I should say, I was allergic to cats. I made some lifestyle changes years ago and have been allergy-free ever since. The good news is, with some perseverance and preventative measures, most people that are allergic to cats can manage their symptoms too.

Contrary to popular belief, cat hair itself is not allergenic. Cat allergies are caused by the Fel d 1 protein emanating from sebum found in the sebaceous glands of cats. The protein attaches itself to dried skin, called dander, that flakes off and floats through the air when cats wash themselves. An allergy occurs when the body over-reacts to this substance  and produces excessive amounts of histamine which leads to the irritating symptoms associated with cat-allergies – itchy eyes, sneezing, skin rash, etc.

There are many causes of allergy attacks - molds, plants, and pollens can trigger an attack

Your cat might not always be the cause of your allergies – often it can be plant pollen or other substances in the air that are carried into your home that can trigger an allergy attack.

Ironically, it might not always be the cat that is the root cause of the allergy. Outside cats (and humans) can bring pollen, mold, and other allergens into the house, or there may be airborne allergens in the house from dust mites, carpet dust, mold spores, or pollen and chemicals in the environment that trigger allergies. Rather than assume it’s the cat, check that the cat is actually the source of the allergen by getting a skin test done by an allergist. Some sufferers are successfully treated for the symptoms with allergy shots or over the counter antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays or homeopathic remedies.

If a shot or medication doesn’t do the trick, here are some other tips:

1. Remove dander from the air with strategically placed ionizers and HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) purifying systems. These units come in a variety of sizes, prices, and styles to suit your needs, budget, and square footage.

2. Keep your cat out of any bedroom where the person is allergic and do not let them sleep on the bed. Provide other comfortable sleeping areas for him to nap and if you do allow him to sleep on the bed (for some cat lovers, it’s impossible to say no to them), wash all bedding in 140-degree hot water at least twice monthly. This will eliminate both dust mites and cat allergens and there are products available, such as DeMite, that can be used with the laundry detergent to kill harmful particles.

3. Keep towels and throw blankets on couches and furniture where your cat might nap so you can wash the linens frequently and change air conditioning filters on a regular basis, as they also catch a large amount of cat hair. You can also use an anti-allergen spray to deactivate allergens. Allersearch ADS, made from plant-based, non-toxic substances, can safely be sprayed throughout the house to take the sting out of household dust by rendering allergens harmless.

Washing cat bedding frequently can help to reduce dander and cat allergies in a home. Consider using DeMite washing solution in the laundry.

To keep your cat from depositing dander on your furniture, provide her with a comfortable throw blanket to nap on that can easily be washed.

4. Carpet is a magnet for allergens, so vacuum frequently with a high-grade HEPA vacuum. Use the hand tools to get into hard to reach spaces – cat allergen particles are very small and invasive, so you have to do a thorough job. This includes furniture, throw rugs, drapery, walls, under furniture, and more.

5. Hardwood and tile floors, especially in corners where cat hair tends to drift, should be swept frequently. If you find your allergies are being triggered while vacuuming or sweeping, wear a protective mask to cover your nose while doing these tasks. Damp mopping these surfaces (including walls) also helps to keep dander under control. Dust frequently and use liberal amounts of spray furniture polish, as this dramatically limits allergen particles from becoming airborne.

Replacing carpeting with tile floors can dramatically reduce chances of getting cat allergies

My house was once covered in wall-to-wall carpeting. After removing it and replacing it with tiles, any allergy symptoms I had due to my cats were substantially reduced.

6. For extra cleaning, use a vapor steam cleaner. They’re an effective method to provide a chemical-free way of cleaning and killing dust mites, bacteria, mold spores, and cat allergens.

7. Wash your hands after petting your cat and avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can result in itchy eyes for hours and a strong anti-bacterial soap should be used. You should also avoid excessive hugging and snugging with your cat.

8. Clean your cat. Most cats would prefer NOT  to be bathed and it’s effectiveness isn’t entirely conclusive. As an alternative, try Allerpet, a veterinary recommended, easy to use, non-toxic liquid you apply directly to your cat’s coat to reduce allergens.

9. Use a de-shedding tool like the FURminator to regularly brush and groom your cat. This highly effective tool gets deep into the undercoat of the cat fur and significantly reduces shedding. Groom in a well-ventilated area so the dander dissipates.

The FURminator de-shedding grooming tool helps to reduce cat dander in the air

Not only do my cats love to be groomed with the FURminator de-shedding tool, but by doing it, it greatly reduces the amount of dander in the house.

10. Dust from cleaning litter boxes can trigger allergy attacks. Either find someone who is not allergic to do the cleaning, or use a protective nose mask to reduce the chances of allergens entering your body.

One, some, or all of the above  methods might be needed to keep your allergies under control. But with time, effort, and experimenting, chances are that you and your cat can co-exist  peacefully together in your home and you can enjoy a long and happy relationship with your cat. Or, now that you know some tips to making your house allergen-free, you can take the plunge and adopt that cat you always wanted, but didn’t think you could have…

hearts

ALL cats produce dandruff, though some cats produce less than others. No cat is allergen-free, not even hairless cats, although there are some studies that conclude Rex, Sphynx, and Siberian Cats are less likely to cause allergies than others. If you do decide to look into one of these breeds, please consider finding a breed specific rescue organization or contact Petfinder.com for adoptable cats in your area.

Happy 8th Birthday to My Beautiful Zoey!

Bengal cats look like miniature leopards and descend from the Asian Leopard Cat in the wild

Happy 8th Birthday to my darling Zoey – my gorgeous Bengal girl and feline love of my life!

But a mere minute ago (or so it seems), I was on my way home with the feline love of my life sitting inches away from me in her well-appointed cat carrier, claws frantically trying to find a way out and screaming at the top of her lungs like a large and ferocious wildcat of the jungle to be freed from her prison. That was my Zoey back in 2008 when she was about 12 weeks old. She barely weighed anything – a beautiful and petite ball of fluff in miniature form that mimicked a large and graceful leopard. Read more